What does acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture is probably best known in the West for its treatment of pain, and recent high quality scientific studies can strongly support its effectiveness.  However, acupuncture is used to treat a broader variety of conditions in China.  Acupuncture can also be used alongside medical treatment in a supportive care role.  Acupuncture has a long history of clinical use and is generally considered safe when performed by experienced, well-trained practitioners using sterile needles. Improperly performed acupuncture can cause serious side effects.  Monica Seelig has had 20 years clinical experience and only uses high quality pre-sterilised disposable needles in the clinic.

A systemic review and meta analysis of the current literature available for 122 conditions resulted in a recent report called The Acupuncture Evidence Project: A Comparative Literature Review (Revised Edition), (2017, McDonald J and Janz S, Brisbane, Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd www.acupuncture.org.au).  They concluded that it was “no longer possible to say that the effectiveness of acupuncture is because of the placebo effect, or that it is useful only for musculoskeletal pain.”

The report highlighted there was significant scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture for the following conditions:

  • Pain – low back, neck, shoulder, heel, lateral elbow, pelvic, temporomandibular (TMJ), sciatica, back or pelvic pain during pregnancy, pelvic and prostatitis pain, labour pain, cancer pain, headache (tension and chronic), migraine prophylaxis, postoperative pain and knee osteoarthritis
  • Emotional – anxiety, cancer-related fatigue, depression (with medication), insomnia, PTSD
  • Digestive – irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, postoperative and chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting
  • Respiratory – allergic rhinitis, asthma in adults
  • Miscellaneous – menopausal hot flushes, restless legs syndrome, smoking cessation, hypertension (with medication), moderating sensory perception thresholds, dry eye

They also concluded that “further research is needed to clarify the effectiveness of acupuncture” in the following conditions due to conflicting evidence or poor quality reviews:

  • Musculoskeletal – Carpal tunnel syndrome, exercise performance and post-exercise recovery, lumbar spinal stenosis, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal cord injury, whiplash associated disorder
  • Obstetric – Assisted conception in ART, hyperemesis gravidarum, induction of labour, post natal depression
  • Gynaecological – Dysmenorrhoea, premenstrual syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome, primary ovarian insufficiency, uterine fibroids
  • Digestive – Functional dyspepsia, inflammatory bowel disease
  • Miscellaneous – Atopic dermatitis, chronic urticaria, psoriasis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, Meniere’s disease, tinnitus, urinary incontinence, poor sperm quality

The quality and quantity of scientific research into the effectiveness of acupuncture is increasing and we are only beginning to be able to understand and measure how acupuncture works. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has evolved over 5,000 years in China, making it one of the oldest health systems still in use today.  TCM includes acupuncture but also incorporates Chinese Herbal Medicine and other treatment modalities which offer a different set of diagnostics tools and methods available that can help manage your symptoms and improve your well-being. We also deal in chronic health conditions that have failed to respond to other forms of treatment.

I have had 20 years clinical experience and incorporate a number of different treatment methods into your treatment for best clinical results. For example, the combination of remedial massage techniques and acupuncture for the relief of muscular pain associated with many acute and chronic painful muscular conditions. Chinese herbal medicines support and strengthen the body based on the diagnosis of your condition in Chinese medicine terms, whether that be to help you have a healthy menstrual cycle, support digestion, respiratory function or balance the emotions. The above is a list of conditions that research supports responds well to acupuncture. There are many other common conditions that have been found to respond to a combination of other therapies offered in this clinic. If your condition is not listed above, please feel free to contact me to discuss if I have had experience in treating your condition and if it will respond to acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine.