6 ways to age gracefully with acupuncture

If you’re a fan of acupuncture, you know that a few well-placed needles can do wonders for your health. If you’ve never tried it, you should know whether you’re dealing with migraines, fatigue, anxiety, constipation, insomnia or back pain, acupuncture has got you covered.

But did you also know acupuncture can also help you age more gracefully?

Acupuncture has been shown to ease a lot of the uncomfortable or even downright scary symptoms of aging. And, let’s face it, when it comes to feeling and looking more youthful, most of us will take all the help we can get. Acupuncture can lend your aging body a helping hand by…

  1. Trimming extra pounds. It’s no secret that your metabolism slows down as you get older, which makes it a lot harder to keep excess weight off. But having too much extra body weight puts your health in jeopardy by making you more at risk for age-related chronic diseases. It’s the age-old dilemma for people who are aging… getting older makes you fat, and getting fat makes you old. But fortunately acupuncture can help. A 2013 study showed that four weeks of ear acupuncture helped study participants reduce their body mass index by 6.1 percent. Participants also lost weight and inches off their waist.
  2. Easing the symptoms of menopause. If the symptoms of menopause are making you miserable, acupuncture can provide some relief. A 2016 study found that it can reduce your night sweats and hot flashes by as much as 36 percent after as little as eight treatments. Acupuncture can also improve your sex drive, something that typically takes a dip post-menopause.
  3. Improving your cognition and memory. The loss of your cognitive skills and memory are probably the scariest age-related symptoms you can face. But several studies have shown that acupuncture reduces the symptoms of mild cognitive impairment and dementia. In fact, one recent study found that it was more effective at easing the symptoms of mild cognitive impairment than nimodipine, a commonly prescribed drug for the condition.
  4. Improving your joint health and mobility. A lot of older adults deal with joint pain and mobility issues that stem from osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage in your joints wears down, causing your bones to rub together. It’s the most common form of arthritis, and it’s extremely painful. But a 2006 study found that osteoarthritis sufferers who used acupuncture in conjunction with conventional medical treatment had less pain and a better quality of life than those who used conventional medical treatment alone.
  5. Relieving chronic pain. The older you get the more likely you are to suffer from chronic pain. But whether your pain comes from an illness like fibromyalgia, arthritis or an old back injury, acupuncture can help. A 2016 study found that people dealing with chronic pain from fibromyalgia reduced their pain levels by 41 percent after just 10 weeks of sessions. But what’s even more amazing is that the pain-reducing powers still worked for participants a year after they stopped treatment.
  6. Giving your face a non-surgical lift. Plastic surgery is expensive and dangerous. But acupuncture could be a cheaper, safer alternative if you want to give your skin a youthful lift. A lot of people (including celebrities like Cher and Madonna) swear by it’s ability to smooth fine lines and wrinkles, relieve facial tension and give your face a healthy glow. Some practitioners even say that it boosts your skin’s collagen production. There’s no science to back the acupuncture facelift up yet, so you may have to be your own guinea pig. At the very least, you’ll leave your acupuncturist’s office feeling more relaxed… which is always good for your skin and your health!
Sources:
  1. Yeo, K. S. Kim, S. Lim. “Randomised clinical trial of five ear acupuncture points for the treatment of overweight people.” Acupuncture in Medicine, 2013.
  2. E. Avis, R. R. Coeytaux, S. Isom, K. Prevette, T. Morgan. “Acupuncture in Menopause (AIM) study.” Menopause, 2016; 23 (6): 626.
  3. Walker et al. “Acupuncture Versus Venlafaxine for the Management of Vasomotor Symptoms in Patients With Hormone Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2009.
  4. Deng, X.F. Wang. “Acupuncture for amnestic mild cognitive impairment: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.” Acupuncture in Medicine, 2016.
  5. “Osteoarthritis Patients Treated With Acupuncture Show Improvement.” ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  6. Vas, K. Santos-Rey, R. Navarro-Pablo, M. Modesto, et al. “Acupuncture for fibromyalgia in primary care: a randomised controlled trial.” Acupuncture in Medicine, 2016.
  7. “Hold the Chemicals, Bring on the Needles.” The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com. Retrieved August 10, 2016.

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Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.