How Acupuncture can aid those with PTSD
3 September 2020
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles that penetrate the skin. This may take place upon the limbs, body or head of a patient. Alternatively they may be placed upon the patient’s back. The points used, will vary per patient.
How can acupuncture aid those with PTSD?
A randomised controlled study of active duty US military service personnel in 2014 found that acupuncture could help to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety and pain, improve mental and physical health functioning, and also significantly benefit their overall outcome too.
As the researchers found, acupuncture is a safe, non-stigmatising and therapeutic treatment that proved to be effective in reducing PTSD symptoms. They also discovered that those who combined acupuncture with other kinds of treatments, such as medications, had a significantly better outcome than those who only received the usual care.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental condition that can affect anyone of us that suffers or witnesses a traumatic incident. It was once considered to affect only soldiers that went away to combat. However, people that are involved in serious accidents physical or sexual assault, torture, bushfires or floods may experience any one or all symptoms relating to PTSD.
The symptoms may vary from only one, or all being experienced at any given time. These may include the reliving/re-occurrences of events either in dreams or from heightened negative thought processes and feelings, hyper vigilance of a person’s surroundings, helplessness and loss of sleep, panic and extreme fear.
Because of the huge amount of fear placed upon a person experiencing PTSD, they may lose interest in their day-day activates and feel cut off from society, leaving them isolated, and feeling emotionally flat and numb, leading to them suffering from depression.
In 2018 a Meta-analysis (a review of 10 randomised controlled trials), of acupuncture was found to have positive effects whilst treating patient’s for PTSD. Especially post intervention of the trials, with those suffering with depression.
Whilst acupuncture is not a cure, the Meta-analysis concluded that those that were treated with both acupuncture and their regular medication had lasting effects.
Acupuncture can help to restore and maintain health by stimulating specific acupressure points — also called acupoints — on the body. Auricular (ear) acupuncture can aid in balancing the nervous system and also induce relaxation. Acupuncture addresses ailments related to PTSD such as mood changes, hypervigilance and mental fogginess. Acupuncture can also treat PTSD-related anxiety, panic and sleep disorders.