Depending on which Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) you consult with, they will tell you that Acupuncture has been used to help heal people for 2 to 3000 years. Acupuncture in the modern area is still primarily used as an alternative treatment when traditional western medicine either isn’t working, or is simply unavailable due to long waiting lists to see Specialists to receive treatment. In the last fifteen years in both Canada and the USA, Acupuncture has made huge advances in many areas of people’s physical and emotional health. Here are some of the current trends for acupuncture in the modern era:
Acupuncture for mental disorders
Americans and Canadians consume 66% of both the global supply of antidepressant medications and anti-psychotic medications, and we have the largest concentration of both ADD and ADHD children of any two countries in the world. Frustrated by expensive and often damaging medications, people, especially parents, are turning to acupuncture as a way of managing mood disorders.
Doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine are seeing vast improvements with mood disorders through the use of auricular acupuncture (acupuncture performed on the ear). Used in conjunction with Reiki treatments (energy healing) and herbal therapies performed by a licensed Chinese herbalist, bi-polar patients in particular are reporting up to a 50% decrease in symptoms especially those of anxiety and general depression. People with clinical depression and anxiety disorders also report feeling less depressed and anxious and in many cases have been able to either reduce or eliminate medications after about a dozen sessions of acupuncture. While long term studies do not yet exist, many people suffering from mental afflictions are feeling hopeful about their future.
Acupuncture for Addictions
Traditional Chinese Medicine has always focused on treating the whole person and not just one disorder or ailment. Any Doctor of TCM will tell you that disorders are often created when the flow of energy in the body is interrupted and once this flow or Qi (pronounced Chi) is repaired, many ailments or addictions do heal. It was in 1972 that a Hong Kong Doctor first experimented with auricular (ear acupuncture) on some heroin addicts. Dr. Wen found that this particular style of 5 point acupuncture was particularly helpful to this group of addicts as it reduced not just their cravings for the drug, but greatly reduced and in some cases stopped all withdrawal symptoms.
Now a recognized therapy for addictions was officially endorsed in 1985 by the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association and has been used to help treat addicts in Canada since 1999. Not only have people been able to quit smoking by having their cravings for nicotine reduced, but also many alcoholics and street drug users swear this therapy saved them from the ravages of addiction by removing their cravings, and helping them heal from the side effects of addictions such as depression and anxiety.
Acupuncture for cancer treatment
While there are no known studies that show Acupuncture of any type has ever cured a cancer patient, there are thousands of patients who will atone to how this treatment enhanced their lives. While only a dozen years or so ago Acupuncture was seen as one of the ‘last hopes’ of an end stage cancer patient, now patients in all stages of cancer are using acupuncture alongside traditional western medicine to help them heal.
Many patients use acupuncture either prior or after chemotherapy treatments to help them control pain without being zonked out on painkillers. Used alongside herbal therapies and often acupressure therapies along body meridian lines to free restricted energies, many patients find little or no need for narcotics.
Another area that acupuncture succeeds in for cancer patients is in nausea management and weight control. Too often the dreadful side effects of cancer treatments leave patients so weak they are unable to eat, which leads to a chain reaction of getting thinner and weaker. Cancer patients who use acupuncture are often able to stabilize their weight so their immune system remains strong enough to fight the cancer.
In the modern era acupuncture can benefit just about anyone; from the smoker who wishes to quit smoking, to the stressed out office worker who wants to be freed from day to day anxieties, to the seasonal allergy sufferer who is tired of trying every over the counter medicine to relieve sinusitis, to the couple who can’t find a solution in western medicine to their infertility, there is hope. Many people have been resistant to try this ancient form of medicine, seeing it as a last hope. In many cases it is becoming some people’s only hope. Perhaps it always was, but in our quick fix western society we have been really slow to see it!