Addiction is a complex disease that can be difficult to treat. But acupuncture, an ancient Chinese healing practice, is emerging as a promising complementary therapy for addiction.
How does acupuncture work for addiction?
Acupuncture is thought to work for addiction by:
Reducing withdrawal symptoms
Balancing the nervous system
Improving mood and sleep
Reducing stress and anxiety
Acupuncture can also help people with addiction to develop healthy coping mechanisms and to address the underlying emotional and psychological issues that may be contributing to their addiction. Research on acupuncture for addiction A growing body of research supports the use of acupuncture for addiction treatment. For example, a 2018 study found that acupuncture was effective in reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms in people with alcohol dependence. Another study, published in 2020, found that acupuncture was effective in reducing relapse rates in people with opioid addiction. What to expect during an acupuncture treatment for addiction During an acupuncture treatment for addiction, you will lie down on a comfortable table. The acupuncturist will then insert thin, sterile needles into specific points on your body. The needles are usually left in place for 15-30 minutes. Most people find acupuncture to be very relaxing. You may feel a slight tingling or aching sensation at the needle insertion sites, but this is usually very mild. How often should you get acupuncture for addiction? The number of acupuncture treatments you will need will depend on your individual needs and how well you respond to the treatment. Some people find that they start to feel relief after just a few treatments, while others need more time. It is important to be patient and consistent with your acupuncture treatments. Most acupuncturists recommend getting treatments once or twice a week for the first few weeks, and then reducing the frequency of treatments as your symptoms improve. Acupuncture as part of a comprehensive addiction treatment plan Acupuncture is most effective when used as part of a comprehensive addiction treatment plan. This may also include therapy, medication, and support groups. If you are considering trying acupuncture for addiction, talk to your doctor first. They can help you to decide if acupuncture is right for you and can also refer you to a qualified acupuncturist. Conclusion Acupuncture is a safe and effective complementary therapy that can help people with addiction to overcome their addiction and achieve sobriety. If you are struggling with addiction, please consider acupuncture as part of your recovery journey.