Trauma can be emotional or physical and carries a weight with it for those who suffer from a traumatic event and the longer post-traumatic stress that can come from it. Fortunately, we live in a time where help is available. Since acupuncture subscribes to the whole mind/body/spirit healing approach to balancing energy and achieving complete wellness, it makes sense that acupuncture could be a helpful tool to treating various forms of trauma and its impact on both the mind and body.
A paper from Boston University by Danielle Rousseau explained it well: “The way acupuncture can aid in trauma recovery is by alleviating the symptoms either directly or residually caused by the event. For example, after a car accident, an individual might suffer pain in their neck and experience anxiety whenever they are in a car again. Acupuncture can help to relieve the neck pain that both hinders quality of life and acts as a constant reminder of the accident. Chronic pain is also a common side effect of adverse childhood experiences. When an adult comes in for therapy with a long history of repeat traumas, alleviating physical pain is a great starting point to begin recovery. This allows for a greater sense of control in one’s own body and opens doors for further therapeutic practices like yoga and exercise that would not have been possible with chronic pain. Acupuncture may not be the cure-all that therapists and researchers are looking for to help their patients overcome past traumas but its longstanding history and overwhelming success rate for non-trauma related pain demands more research be conducted on the practice’s effects on trauma.”
With its whole-body approach, acupuncture is a holistic option to treat both the physical symptoms that can come from experiencing trauma as well as the processing of emotions that follows. And the research is backing this up. A 2007 randomized controlled pilot trial found that, “acupuncture may be an efficacious and acceptable non exposure treatment option for PTSD.”
A 2019 study from Italy found that acupuncture improved both the mental and physical symptoms associated with PTSD. Researchers looked at the effects of acupuncture on survivors of a major earthquake in Italy that caused 300 deaths and left 30,000 people homeless. Researchers found that prior to treatment, approximately 70% of the study subjects reported symptoms associated with PTSD. They also found that after the third acupuncture treatment both the physical symptoms like musculoskeletal pain and mental symptoms like anxiety and depression from the trauma significantly improved with 60% of the patients in the study.
If you suffer from the effects of trauma, talk to your acupuncturist. Your practitioner will complete a comprehensive health history to not only address your symptoms but help you address the underlying mental and emotional impacts as well. Acupuncture’s goal is always to restore balance to the whole body. Make an appointment today and begin your mind/body healing journey.