Are there long-term benefits of acupuncture?

According to a recent survey, three million people in the UK have acupuncture each year to assist with a range of mental and physical problems.

Of those, a third were referred through the NHS – evidence that general practitioners and specialists have seen both the short and long-term benefits of acupuncture in recent years.

Acupuncture can provide relief for patients suffering from a range of ailments, such as sports injuries, chronic pain, headaches, and fertility issues – to name only a few.

However, ongoing studies and research have started to demonstrate how acupuncture can help with both mental and physical health in the long term.

One of the primary ways acupuncture can help is with pain relief.

A research paper published recently examined the long-term effect of acupuncture on chronic pain and showed great promise for patients.

Those with chronic lower back or neck pain, shoulder pain, chronic headaches, migraines or osteoarthritis of the knee were all eligible to take part.

Researchers aimed to address the uncertainty surrounding how long the effects of acupuncture persist after a treatment course.

The research revealed that approximately 90 per cent of the benefits of acupuncture were sustained at 12 months, suggesting that underlying changes are occurring with acupuncture that has long-term health benefits and, in this instance, lasting pain relief.

In recent years, acupuncture has also been gaining popularity in treating a range of neuropsychiatric disorders, which prompted another recent study to investigate the effect of acupuncture on medical expenditure and the risk of depression and anxiety in migraine patients.

Overall, this study helped demonstrate that in the long term, the acupuncture study group had a low medical expenditure within one year of intervention compared to the non-acupuncture group.

They also showed a reduced risk of depression and anxiety and within the 13-year follow-up period, depression and anxiety was significantly lower within the acupuncture study group.

Acupuncture is believed to help the brain release natural chemicals that help patients relax, feel a sense of calm, and enjoy a positive impact on more than just physical ailments.

While studies show the positive effects on mental health, it has also been seen in recent years to help prevent cognitive decline for some elderly patients.

An increasing number of contemporary studies have helped validate the use of acupuncture in treating Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular Diseases.

A study published earlier this year documenting the Role of Acupuncture Improving Cognitive Deficits due to Alzheimer’s Disease or Vascular Diseases through regulating Neuroplasticity has shown great promise.

The study has not only demonstrated the long-term therapeutic effects of acupuncture, but also the regulation of neuroplasticity.

Overall, it is a promising study that shows how acupuncture is potentially an excellent alternative therapy for these diseases.

Each year, the evidence demonstrating both the short and long-term benefits of acupuncture grows stronger.

What was once seen as a traditional Chinese medical treatment, years behind western medicine, is slowly being recognised as a legitimate and valuable form of therapy by both the NHS and WHO.

If you are interested in learning about the long-term benefits of acupuncture, and would like to know more about how it can become a part of your health and wellbeing regime, don’t hesitate to get in touch today.

Our team will be more than happy to assist you. Call us on 0800 051 76 88.