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Study Shows That Acupuncture Can Improve PTSD Symptoms

May 07, 2019 Health News
acupuncture for ptsd relief study

New acupuncture research always generates curiosity on our team. We’re not only focused on building seamless acupuncture software while providing unwavering support to our customers — we’re committed to staying up-to-date with how acupuncture, TCM, and other integrative health practices are making breakthroughs in the medical research world. As the research evolves, so does our technology.

So when a study was published that showed the benefit acupuncture could provide for people with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), we wanted to learn more.

Here’s the gist: A new study from Italy recently uncovered that acupuncture can improve both the mental and physical symptoms associated with PTSD.

Researchers looked specifically at acupuncture and its effect on survivors of a major earthquake in Italy that caused 300 deaths and left 30,000 people homeless.

In the study, 41 subjects received four, 20-minute acupuncture treatments over four days from seasoned practitioners. Before the treatment, nearly 70 percent of subjects reported symptoms associated with PTSD. Researchers found that after the third treatment, both the physical symptoms (musculoskeletal pain) and mental symptoms (anxiety, depression, and insomnia) from the trauma significantly improved within 60 percent of the patient population.

“Acupuncture was very effective in the treatment of musculoskeletal pain,” explains Antonio Piscitelli, co-author of the study and medical acupuncturist. He explained to Unified Practice over email that the research team considers pain as a somatic symptom related to PTSD, as confirmed by literature evidence.

acupuncture ptsd releif

The Role Acupuncture Can Play

Acupuncture and other TCM practices are well-recognized for the ability to both prevent and treat a broad range of conditions, from chronic pain and mental illness to fertility issues and asthma. With acupuncture and TCM practitioners on our team, we see first handedly the way it can vastly improve people’s health and wellbeing.  

This is not the first study to look at acupuncture and its potential benefits for people suffering from PTSD. Rather, it’s building on a stack of relevant research: A handful of studies show that acupuncture is a compelling treatment for veterans who have brain injuries and sleep deprivation. Other research has compared the effects of acupuncture to cognitive behavioral therapy and found that both methods improved symptoms in patients who were suffering from PTSD.

Researchers from this new study admit certain limitations and acknowledge there’s more work to be done to further prove acupuncture’s ability to support survivors of natural disasters. However, the opportunity feels urgent and abundant: According to The Economist, since 1970 the number of natural disasters worldwide has more than quadrupled to 400 a year.

“Early intervention is crucial in public health response to mass trauma,” urges Piscitelli. “If further researchers confirm the positive effect of acupuncture in disaster-stricken areas and more general in emergency, we should consider acupuncture as useful, complementary intervention aimed at improving healthy psychological state in this kind of context.”

In our words? If acupuncture could become a key public-health intervention, especially in disaster-stricken zones, an incredible amount of people could find powerful relief for both their bodies and minds.

Psst: If you’re a TCM practitioner interested in learning more about our integrated practice management solution, get started here.