Acupuncture has been around for centuries and has been proven to produce multiple health benefits. In addition to benefits like pain relief and reduced muscle inflammation, research shows that acupuncture can ease addiction recovery. Before dissecting how acupuncture eases addiction recovery, it is important to discover what it is and how it works.
NIH News in Health explains, “Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points on the body. The methods can vary, but the most well known type in the United States is the insertion of thin metal needles through the skin.”
Originally derived from traditional Chinese medicine, the exact specifications of how acupuncture works are not yet known. Some believe it has more of a placebo effect than actual healing properties. Others argue that it can affect certain pain receptors in the brain, which provides pain relief or potentially alters the perception of pain. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) cites, “Western researchers have proposed many theories based on our current scientific understanding, including that acupuncture may stimulate release of certain neurotransmitters, that it causes cells to release chemicals that bind to opioid receptors and block pain, and/or that it alters hormone levels and white blood cell activity.”
Furthermore, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) details, “Acupuncture is based on the belief that qi (vital energy) flows through the body along paths, called meridians. Qi is said to affect a person’s spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health.” As a result, acupuncture is considered a holistic therapeutic technique.
Acupuncture is typically used as a complementary approach, which means it is most beneficial when used in conjunction with other techniques. For example, the NCI reports that acupuncture can be an extremely effective method for relieving nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) also explains that acupuncture may help provide relief from the following conditions:
It is important to note that, just like any other treatment, results from acupuncture can vary from person to person. The VA confirms that the way acupuncture is administered may also vary, stating, “Acupuncture therapy is individualized, so two people with the same Western medical diagnosis may be treated in very different ways.” Additionally, laws surrounding how acupuncture is administered can differ in each state. Therefore, there are multiple factors that can cause differing results among patients.
As previously stated, acupuncture can relieve stress, pain, and inflammation in certain areas of the body. In addition, statistics show that acupuncture can ease unpleasant symptoms associated with addiction recovery.
When used under proper medical supervision, acupuncture eases addiction recovery in several ways. For example, it may help relieve symptoms of detoxification, such as:
In addition, the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) Protocol has been reported to uniquely provide relief. An article from Behavioral Sciences reports that this form of acupuncture eases addiction recovery and “is an adjunctive therapy that involves the bilateral insertion of 1 to 5 predetermined ear needle points. One of the main benefits reported by patients, providers, and programs utilizing NADA is the sense of stillness, centering, and well-being.” Furthermore, since impulsivity plays such a key role in addiction and relapse, this method of treatment can be very helpful in empowering a patient to develop healthy decision-making skills.
Additionally, an article by Medicines explains that the NADA protocol could also aid in managing the co-occurring disorders that tend to accompany addiction and, as a result, the common symptoms of detoxification. It states, “[NADA]…has the potential to provide vast public health relief on issues currently challenging our world. This includes but is not limited to addiction, such as the opioid epidemic, but also encompasses mental health, trauma, PTSD, chronic stress, and the symptoms associated with these conditions.”
Here at Sage Recovery, we recognize the intense challenges that can occur during addiction recovery. We pride ourselves on our innovative treatment approaches so that individuals can receive the individualized care that they deserve. Our licensed clinicians are trained in a variety of treatment techniques so that each patient’s recovery journey can be as healthy and comprehensive as possible. Here at Sage Recovery, our clinicians are experts in providing innovative and evidence-based techniques such as:
Acupuncture is just one of the many healing approaches we utilize at Sage Recovery to promote whole-person healing and lasting sobriety. Remember, the benefits of acupuncture stretch far beyond addiction recovery. Individuals can consider incorporating acupuncture into their recovery journey with the help of our licensed professionals.
Recovering from addiction is a difficult and brave choice. Here at Sage Recovery, we understand the amount of courage and work it takes to heal healthily. That’s why we offer customizable treatment options that will allow you to receive the individualized care you deserve. We believe there are multiple pathways to healing and, as a result, our master’s level clinicians are highly trained in multiple treatment techniques. In addition to traditional, evidence-based approaches, we also offer innovative techniques such as acupuncture detoxification, equine therapy, and nature immersion. Our caring, empathetic, trauma-informed staff will always treat you with respect and dignity as you learn how to heal. Whenever you’re ready, reach out to us at (512) 306-1394. We’re here for you.