Acupuncture offers a gentle, alternative medicine approach to help ease and treat the aches and pains in aging bodies. Instead of treating symptoms, acupuncture helps treat the pain source — naturally — without drug interaction.
Learn more about the many benefits of acupuncture for seniors, below.
Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese practice where needles are inserted into the body to treat disease, offers many benefits to seniors. While American healthcare is designed around Western medicine, alternative medicine — including acupuncture — provides reliefwithout medication.
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As the Baby Boomer population reaches retirement in record numbers, chronic health care expenses of this generation are feared to collapse Medicare. Not only that, the preventative medicine concept of Eastern medicine helps seniors get healthy naturally, without prescription side effects. Many believe acupuncture, and other alternative therapies, are the best kept secret in senior care.
Chinese medicine and acupuncture is based on the concept of ‘qi’ (pronounced “chi”), which means ‘life force energy.’ This natural energy is continuously generated and flows within the twelve major meridians in the body. The two polarities, referred to as ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ help balance the energy flow in each of the meridians to return the body to a good state of health. Pathogens can make these energies unbalanced, which leads to disease. Acupuncture helps treat disease by restoring and normalizing the flow and balance of the ‘qi’ in the meridians to return the body to a state of health.
Acupuncture enables relief without dealing with the side effects of medications for many conditions and symptoms. One of the biggest problems in Western Medicine is the use of prescription medication in the elderly. In fact, the CDC estimates that every year 177,000 older adults visit the emergency room due to medication problems. Dr. Leslie Kernisan, Geriatrician and A Place for Mom expert, comments:
“Most older adults will not have their medications regularly reviewed by a geriatrician or geriatric pharmacist, so many oversights and problems can arise. The more medications a senior takes, the greater the chance of side-effects, interactions, and emergencies due to adverse events.”
If natural remedies can be used, such as acupuncture, they are a wonderful alternative to medications.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported many health benefits from acupuncture.
These upper respiratory tract illnesses have shown to benefit from acupuncture:
These respiratory illnesses have shown relief from acupuncture treatments.
The WHO reports relief from the following eye disorders, which are quite common in the elderly:
As we age, the gums and teeth tend to suffer from years of use and neglect. According to studies and clinical trials from the University of Maryland Medical Center, UC San Diego and the WHO, acupuncture can help relieve and treat the following mouth disorders:
From anxiety and depression to insomnia, acupuncture helps treat many emotional and mental problems. Sadly seniors suffer from many of these problems that go along with aches and pains and changes related to aging.
Traditional Chinese medicine recognizes the body and mind interacting as one, meaning that emotions have a physiological effect on the body. By channeling the ‘qi’ energy, acupuncture is able to help seniors relax and live in a more balanced emotional reality. The CDC and Psych Central discuss how acupuncture is now recognized as a legitimate treatment for many mental and emotional health problems.
Acupuncture can be effective at treating chronic pain conditions, such as arthritis. Acupuncture can help relieve disability and pain for some arthritic conditions, but not all. Rheumatoid arthritis is commonly treated through acupuncture. The idea is that acupuncture points to treat arthritis are located all over the body, not just directly over the affected area, so during the acupuncture treatment, tiny needles could be placed along your loved one’s legs, arms, shoulders or wherever the practitioner determines is best to treat the condition.
The frequency, length, and number of treatments will vary, but acupuncture is a common natural method for easing arthritic inflammation, relieving discomfort and preventing swelling.
Have you found any other benefits of acupuncture for seniors that you would like to share? We would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.