While commonly connected to those who have served in the military, post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, can impact anyone who has suffered from violence or emotional trauma. The National Institute of Mental Health defines PTSD this way, “Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop after exposure to a potentially traumatic event that is beyond a typical stressor.” According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs approximately 12 million adults in the U.S. suffer from PTSD during a given year.
Research has shown that acupuncture for PTSD reduces anxiety and stress levels. Acupuncture is also a great treatment option for those suffering from other health issues because of PTSD (i.e., insomnia, digestive issues, headaches, stress and anxiety, etc.).
How it Works
Typically, acupuncture treatment for PTSD will focus on specific auricular points that focus on different areas of the brain. Some address the emotions, memories, or even amnesia. When the acupuncturist needles that point, the patient can find relief from symptoms.
Perhaps a surprising reason acupuncture for PTSD is so popular is that it allows the person suffering from the trauma to receive help without having to go into detail about the cause of the trauma. While a full medical health history is taken, not having to relive the trauma helps patients to feel safe and perhaps a bit more relaxed.
One of the most complicated components of dealing with the treatment of PTSD is also reigning in the symptoms that result from it including depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and chronic pain. The good news is that acupuncture has a proven track record of success in treating these issues.
Each person with PTSD is different, however, depression and anxiety are often present, and both can manifest in physical and emotional symptoms. This is often an indication of an imbalance of Chi in the body. Chi is defined as the body’s energy pathways flowing through channels in the body called meridians. When Chi is balanced and flowing through the meridian network, our bodies operate optimally. When Chi isn’t balanced, depression, anxiety, loss of appetite, high blood pressure, and even digestive issues can be present.
Many people who suffer from PTSD also have insomnia or other sleep issues. Acupuncture has also been proven to increase serotonin levels which helps to improve sleep as well as mood. It’s an effective drug-free treatment without the side effects often caused by prescription medications. A study from 2015 found “chronic fatigue patients who were given acupuncture as a supplement to conventional treatment showed greater improvement over patients who did not receive acupuncture.”
Chronic pain is often another complaint of those with PTSD and it can be debilitating for those suffering from it as it directly impacts their quality of life. People often treat chronic pain with anti-inflammatory medications (both prescription and over the counter), physical therapy, or with ice and heat, but those options don’t always provide long lasting relief. According to Harvard Medical School, “acupuncture is an option with a good track record that’s worth considering.”
Whether you suffer from PTSD or any of the associated symptoms, acupuncture is an excellent prescription drug-free treatment option to help address a variety of health concerns. Even if you are looking to achieve better overall balance in your life, consistent acupuncture treatments just might be the solution you need.