Supplementing Rehab with Acupuncture
Although it may be surprising to you, acupuncture has been shown to help individuals who are struggling with addiction recovery greatly, especially in the early stages of recovery. The Eastern medical practice of acupuncture has been around for over 3,000 years and has been an important part of alternative medicine. Recently, the Western medical community began to understand the potential use of acupuncture as a complementary form of practice to help addiction.
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture may be the oldest, ongoing practiced form of medicine in the world. As a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture has been traditionally used to alleviate or cure a myriad of physical and psychological problems.
In TCM, the body is thought to have two forces – the yin and yang. The yin is thought to be the calm force, and the yang, the excitable force. TCM believes that for someone to be healthy, there needs to be balance of these two forces. These forces are kept in equilibrium by someone’s vital energy, or qi (pronounced chee), that move along the person’s internal pathways known as meridians. These meridians can become blocked, and acupuncture, the practice of penetrating the skin with small, thin, metallic needles along these pathways, is used to unblock these meridians.
How Acupuncture Has Been Used for Addiction Treatment
In 2007, the National Health Institute conducted a survey in which it concluded that 3.1 million adults and 150,000 children had used acupuncture in the previous year. Although many studies are inconclusive of the effectiveness of acupuncture for addiction treatment, there are many encouraging reports. The FDA has concluded that acupuncture is an acceptable form of complementary medicine for addiction treatment.
With any form of addiction treatment, you have to find something that works for you. Although the idea of meridians, yin-yang and qi is not widely accepted, scientists have begun synthesizing these ideas with Western medicine. Scientists believe that acupuncture actually releases beta-endorphins in the body that create a sense of relaxation, positivity, peace and well-being. Many times these beta-endorphins have been disrupted by addiction.
The Ways Acupuncture Can Help Addiction
Although it shouldn’t be used as a substitute to other forms of treatment, the practice is shown to help in the following ways.
- The release of endorphins, due to acupuncture, is well documented. It is common to disrupt the delicate chemical balance in the brain with addiction, but acupuncture can jumpstart the production of endorphins.
- Acupuncture can help anxiety and restlessness. Many times you may find recovery is met with feelings of anxiety, but, along with the release of endorphins, acupuncture is therapeutic by nature. An acupuncture session can take up to an hour and is usually administered in a soothing environment.
- It can become a ritual. Throughout recovery, many find that activities such as exercising or hobbies are vital. Acupuncture can be used after the initial portion of treatment to be part of your weekly program.
- It can become an interest. Along with the therapeutic nature of acupuncture, you may find it to be a fascinating topic to learn more about. New interests can aid in the recovery process.
Although acupuncture and its effects on addiction are still being tested, it is a practice that you may find helpful in your detoxification and recovery, and one that many addiction treatment programs implement. Only you will know if acupuncture is helpful for your recovery, but many have found it to be an invaluable part of their program. Please contact us if you would like to know about complementary methods that can aid in your recovery, or to find a treatment program where you can start your journey to sobriety.