Acupuncture for Opioids - One Acupuncturist's Personal Passion

Most acupuncturists find their way into the field fueled by passion and a strong belief in the healing powers of the ancient art.

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For acupuncturist Ryan Gauthier, there’s even more to it.

As the Detroit Free Press reports, after tragically losing his husband of five months to an opioid overdose this past Fall, utilizing acupuncture as a means for pain control is all the more important.

As the opioid epidemic in America continues to grow stronger and claim more and more lives, there’s more pressure than ever to find alternatives to these highly addictive, and often misused prescription pain killers.

Of the epidemic, Gauthier is quoted as saying, “It doesn't matter, your career. It doesn't discriminate (based on) your race, your gender. You can be a (health care) provider trying to help people ... and it can be the person you thought you were going to spend the rest of your life with."

In fact, the CDC reports staggering statistics including:

·       From 1999 to 2016, more than 630,000 people have died from a drug overdose.

·       Around 66% of the more than 63,600 drug overdose deaths in 2016 involved an opioid.

·       In 2016, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription opioids and illegal opioids like heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl) was 5 times higher than in 1999.

·       On average, 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.

Acupuncture has been proven time and time again to help with chronic pain control, as evidenced by both numerous scientific studies a well as thousands upon thousands patient testimonials. By restoring chi, balancing the energy within the body and increasing circulation, swelling can decrease, pain can lessen, and speedier healing can be promoted.

Additionally, acupuncture can help decrease tension and anxiety, as well as promote a sense of overall wellbeing and relaxation – all factors that can attribute to pain control.

Prior to filling the prescription for opioids, acupuncture is well worth your consideration.

Gautheir reflects, "Knowing my own situation and the pain that it caused in my own life, I think it makes me want to work for better regulations, better systems in dealing with people after they’re addicted, trying to help patients reduce their use of opioids," he said.

"Even though we call it a crisis I don’t think we in society realize how bad it really is.”

Acupuncture for Joint Pain in Cancer Patients

Recent reports from The Washington Times reveal that acupuncture just might be helpful for women going through painful  treatments for breast cancer.

A popular classification of drugs called aromatase inhibitors is often used to treat breast cancer when it’s detected early – but they can also lead to joint pain. SO bad, in fact, that some women opt to discontinue using the medications just for relief.

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Thankfully, a new study from New York Presbyterian, published in the Journal of American Medicine, discovered that acupuncture just might be able to help.

In a study that included research from 226 post-menopausal women who were split into three groups: those who received actual acupuncture, a “fake” treatment, and those who received no treatment at all. The “fake” treatment included needles inserted in their body, but at non-pressure points.

Overall, the group of patients who received true acupuncture reported their pain rating as two full points less than it was prior to treatment starting, while the control group who received nothing had at least .99 less pain.

The Washington Times reports, “researchers called the pain reduction in the true acupuncture group ‘statistically significant but modest improvements.”

Even if only modest, the use of acupuncture to provide any form of relief from women undergoing breast cancer treatments is reassuring.

We have long known that acupuncture can help to provide pain relief and this reaffirms the wide range of modalities as to why patients might seek the holistic treatment.

The use of strategically placed acuneedles throughout targeted acupuncture points can help to restore the flow of “chi” or energy throughout the body – restoring a sense of balance while reducing inflammation and overall pain.

Acupuncture has also been shown to reduce joint pain in arthritic patients, as well as those with injuries or during surgical recovery.