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Is Acupuncture An Efficient Drug Addiction Treatment?

Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese medicinal practice, is becoming more and more accepted as a preventative medicinal practice as well as a technique to relieve acute and chronic symptoms and disorders. One such disorder that seems to respond well to regular acupuncture sessions is drug and alcohol addiction.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is based upon the idea that energy (called ‘qi,’ pronounced ‘chee’) runs through the body along certain lines called meridians. When this energy is blocked, ailments and medical disorders develop. The idea is that by inserting long thin needles into the first couple layers of skin (painlessly) at certain points along meridians that correspond to certain ailments and body parts and systems, you can unblock that energy, increase energy flow throughout the body, and relieve the symptoms.

The Effectiveness of Acupuncture in Treating Drug and Alcohol Addiction

There are a number of studies that have focused on the effect of acupuncture on drug and alcohol addiction treatment. Conclusion? Acupuncture is highly effective drug and alcohol treatment.

But how do you test the effectiveness of acupuncture? The way it is usually done is to divide the participants into two groups. They share all the same treatment options (that is, they are all enrolled in inpatient drug addiction rehab or they all attend one AA or NA meeting per week) and both have regular acupuncture sessions, but one group uses the needles randomly without paying attention to meridians or points thought to be related to drug and alcohol addiction while the others are meticulously placed according to acupuncture tradition. In a study that divided 80 into two groups of 40 and followed these guidelines, of the group that had random acupuncture done, only 1 remained clean and sober at the end of the two-month study. Of the other group in which acupuncture was done correctly, 21 of the 40 remained at the study’s end.

Acupuncture and Drug Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms

Studies done on animals that focused on acupuncture’s effect on withdrawal after drug and alcohol addiction shows that acupuncture goes a long way toward decreasing the intensity and length of withdrawal symptoms.

An interesting note: the studies done on animals and on people in other circumstances have shown that so-called “sham” acupuncture in which meridians and location of needles are purposely placed incorrectly and true acupuncture in which needles are placed according to meridians yield no different results. Both work equally well and reduce drug addiction withdrawal symptoms. Perhaps it is the relaxation effect or the belief that you are doing something healthy or perhaps taking one step towards a healthy lifestyle encourages other healthy choices like organic eating, better rest and gentle exercise, all of which are thought to reduce the effect of drug addiction withdrawal.

Acupuncture and Drug Addiction Treatment

The most effective drug addiction treatment is one that incorporates as many different types of treatment as possible. Addiction is a personal experience. Addiction treatment should be personal as well. If acupuncture is what makes the difference for you, then it’s important that it’s an option provided by your drug rehab. How will you know whether or not it will work for you unless you try?

The Canyon is a drug rehab that offers acupuncture as one of its many treatment options. If you have questions, contact them today for more information about acupuncture and drug and alcohol addiction treatment.

Wendy Lee Nentwig

By Wendy Lee Nentwig
Guest Contributor
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