In the Western medical world alternative treatments such as acupuncture are rarely considered. This is due to a lack of knowledge on the part of doctors regarding scientific evidence of it’s effectiveness. However, many studies have been published that show acupuncture could be effective treatment alternatives to drugs and medication. Chronic pain is a particular ailment that lots of research has been performed and published. Here are five specific scientifically studied health benefits of acupuncture.

1. Relieve back pain

Acupuncture has had a long history of successfully relieving chronic back pain. Studies have been performed where there was a 15% greater improvement among patients who were treated with acupuncture compared to others that were taking medications and undergoing standard chiropractic care. A study published in May’s Archives of Internal Medicine showed that even applying pressure to the acupuncture instead of needles resulted in the same patient improvement rates. Stimulating points with the hands, usually called acupressure, is common for some practitioners and can be mixed with massage therapy.

2. Boost a medications effectiveness

For those suffering from anxiety, a recent study in August’s Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that a low-dose of anti-anxiety medication (Prozac) combined with acupuncture therapy was just as effective as a full-dose. This could also help to reduce the side effects of the medication. Typical side effects of anti-anxiety medication are nausea, weight gain, and a decreased sex drive.  

3. Soothes Indigestion

In Brazil researchers found that acupuncture was an effective treatment to alleviate heartburn and indigestion for pregnant women. The study included one group being treated with acupuncture and medications while the other was counseled on dietary changes and given  medication. The ending result was 75% of the acupuncture group saw a decline in heartburn intensity and antacid use, meanwhile the other group saw only the same effect for 44%.

4. Offset Radiation Side Effects

There are a large range of side effects that can affect cancer patients undergoing radiation treatment. Some have found that they perceive fewer negative side effects from radiation when paired with forms of acupuncture therapy. In the studies published in CA, patients reported feeling less nauseated and less problems with dry mouth, common side effects for head and neck radiation treatments while wearing acupressure bands during treatment. However, it was found that they vomited the same amount as before and saliva measurements showed the same levels as well. Although the side effects were not alleviated the patients enjoyed an improved quality of life.    

5. Dulls persistent headaches

There have been many studies published in regard to acupuncture therapy treating migraines and tension headaches. It has been found that acupuncture therapy is effective at preventing tension headaches and migraines and that it effective for existing headaches.