Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine which improves the body’s functions and promotes self-healing. This is done by inserting fine, sterile needles into specific body locations and applying heat or electrical stimulation. Acupuncture is based on the theory that energy (or chi) flows through your body along meridians, or pathways. Practitioners believe that illness occurs when these pathways are obstructed; acupuncture is a way of unblocking or influencing chi and helping it get back in balance.

You may be aware of acupuncture’s benefits when it comes to pain reduction, but did you know that acupuncture is used to treat a wide variety of health conditions? These include everything from depression to obesity to allergies.

Read on to learn more about several surprising conditions that acupuncture can treat.

Depression
Acupuncture regulates happiness-inducing neurotransmitters in your brain. It’s been found that one acupuncture session per week can alleviate depression in around three months.

Headache

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Do you get chronic tension headaches or migraines? Research suggests that between 65% and 95% of all headache sufferers receive significant and long-lasting relief from acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture may cause headaches to disappear completely or occur with much less frequency and intensity. This relief may be maintained for several years.

Sleep
Acupuncture boosts the production of neurotransmitters associated with relaxation and sleep, improving sleeping and reducing insomnia.

Asthma

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Research has shown that acupuncture can be effective in reducing the symptoms of respiratory diseases, including asthma. A recent Chinese clinical trial showed that 70% of asthma sufferers experienced fewer and less frequent asthmatic attacks after receiving a course of about 10 acupuncture and moxibustion (an ancient Chinese medicine therapy) treatments once a year.

Menopause
Acupuncture can reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes for up to three months after treatment; this may be due to its ability to help regulate body temperature.

Seasonal allergies

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Research has suggested that 12 acupuncture sessions can reduce symptoms and enable people to use antihistamines less often.

Immune system
Acupuncturists believe that when the body’s chi is sluggish and uneven, the body is susceptible to viruses. When the chi is in balance, the body is better able to fight off viruses. Acupuncture enhances the production of “natural killer cells” which defend our bodies against organisms that make us sick. It also interacts with a complex immune building system that regulates white blood cells which are directly linked to the fight against infections.

Weight
Acupuncture appears to relieve hunger that stems from dieting. In one study, acupuncture helped obese adults lose up to nine pounds over period of two weeks to four months.

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