If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, you may be surprised to learn that acupuncture could be helpful in recovery. The 2,000-year-old Chinese practice of acupuncture has been used to treat various conditions for centuries. We know now that acupuncture benefits can also be seen in addiction rehabilitation.
From what acupuncture is to how it can help with addiction, this guide has the answers to all your acupuncture questions. Here’s a round-up of everything you need to know about acupuncture and addiction recovery.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a widely used practice in Chinese medicine. Acupuncturists use the technique to change the flow of energy or chi through the body. It is believed that pain, illness, and even addiction is a sign of a blockage in the flow of energy. By inserting small, sterile needles into certain points on the body, you can redirect the energy into a positive flow.
When the blockage is freed, pain and other ailments can feel much-needed relief. In terms of Western medicine, doctors and acupuncturists use the technique to increase blood flow and stimulate nerves. This can trigger endorphins, relax muscles, calm nerves, and boost your immune system.
Acupuncture for Drug Addiction
Acupuncture can actually be used at any phase in the treatment of addiction. Specifically, during the withdrawal and detox phase, acupuncture can fight cravings and reduce pain.
For drug and alcohol addicts, acupuncture can help ensure patients stay engaged and active in their treatment efforts. Acupuncture greatly supports long-term sobriety and recovery,
5-Point Ear Acupuncture for Addiction Recovery
The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association or NADA protocol uses a 5-point treatment in a patient’s ear. This practice involves placing needles into five different points on both ears. The needles are left in the ears for thirty minutes. This can be done with small groups of people or individually. You’ll want to do this in a calming, meditative environment.
The first point, known as the autonomic point, helps to relax and calm the nervous system. The spirit gate point reduces nervousness and anxiety. The kidney point helps to calm fears and give support to the internal organs.
The liver point aims at purifying blood, detoxification, and managing anger. The lung point promotes air circulation and helps patients deal with grief. This combination can help people at the start of treatment when they are the most nervous and vulnerable.
Acupuncture Benefits for People in Recovery
While acupuncture will not cure addiction, it can make the treatment a lot more comfortable for the patient. It can also make recovery easier and longer-lasting. This holistic approach can greatly help to prevent relapse. Here are the five main benefits of using acupuncture for addiction.
1. Helps to Fight Cravings
One of the many benefits of acupuncture for addicts is the ability to reduce cravings. Cravings are one of the hardest things for addicts to fight off. Through acupuncture, a patient may find cravings easier to deal with and ignore.
2. Offers Stress Relief
Acupuncture also helps to relieve stress and anxiety. There is often a cycle of guilt and shame that exasperates anxiety. When someone is stressed, even without an addiction problem, this can cause anxiety.
Acupuncture helps to stimulate blood flow, relax muscles, and calm the nerves. Managing stress will help keep an addict from relapsing. The more stress they are under, the more they may fall into old, comforting habits.
3. Combats Depression
Acupuncture can also help to reduce the effects of depression. Often times, addiction stems from an underlying trauma or mental illness. It’s crucial that the mental illness is addressed and worked on in conjunction with the addiction treatment.
Sometimes, depression sufferers are offered drugs as a way to manage their anxiety or depression. This may not be a safe option for a person also suffering from addiction.
If you’re suffering from depression, alcohol or substance abuse can be a coping mechanism. Acupuncture in combination with depression treatments can help make sure recovery is permanent and help to prevent relapse.
4. Natural Pain Relief
Acupuncture is also a holistic way of managing pain without prescription drugs. If you have major surgery, for example, you may be given something to help lower your pain levels. Addicts might not have this luxury.
Someone suffering from addiction should be shown natural ways of dealing with pain. Because addicts shouldn’t become dependent on painkillers, acupuncture can provide natural pain relief.
5. Improves Sleep Quality
Sleep is crucial to managing addiction, recovery, stress levels, and bodily functions. Acupuncture has been shown to help with sleep problems. If an addict isn’t sleeping well, their stress levels can go up, they may feel more pain, and cravings will be harder to fight off.
The better a patient is sleeping, the better off their recovery will be. Having a better quality of sleep will also help reduce the chances of relapse. The more an addict knows about making sleep a priority, the stronger and healthier they will feel both physically and mentally.
Why Acupuncture Detoxification for Addiction Recovery?
The number of acupuncture benefits is almost endless when it comes to addiction. From natural pain relief to offering better sleep and the ability to ward off cravings, acupuncture is a treatment worth exploring.
Whether you or someone you love is suffering from a substance abuse problem, acupuncture could be an extremely helpful aid to recovery. You’ll feel less pain, be better equipped to deal with stress, and feel more relaxed. For more information and to get started on the road to recovery, fill out the contact form here to get in touch with an addiction professional in the Ashville, North Carolina area.