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Can Acupuncture Help with Tinnitus?

Can Acupuncture Help with Tinnitus?

There is some compelling research that suggests acupuncture can be a viable treatment option for tinnitus. Acupuncture may help the condition in the following ways:

  • Reducing anxiety and stress
  • Improving circulation
  • Helping with chronic conditions that may trigger tinnitus
  • Offsetting the side effects of some medications

There are many potential causes of tinnitus, but because acupuncture works on the body as a whole, rather than targeting certain organs, it can help with many tinnitus-associated factors.

How Does Acupuncture Treatment Help with Tinnitus?

Acupuncture has been used in a large variety of medical conditions for thousands of years, as it can produce system-wide benefits for patients. In tinnitus patients, acupuncture may improve quality of life and tinnitus symptoms through the following:

Reducing the impact of stress and anxiety

There are many research studies demonstrating acupuncture’s efficacy in stress and anxiety. For tinnitus patients, stress reduction is a major priority, as there is a clear link between anxiety and tinnitus symptoms. By mitigating stress, acupuncture can also help patients manage their tinnitus with a better mindset.

Boosting circulation

Some tinnitus cases are believed to be caused by poor circulation. High blood pressure, for example, is linked to more intense tinnitus sounds. Acupuncture can improve several circulatory markers, including blood pressure. There is a physiological explanation for this, as acupuncture treatment releases vasodilators into the blood that relax blood vessels and improve their ability to transport blood.

Improving chronic conditions that may contribute to tinnitus

Tinnitus may be caused or worsened by a variety of chronic medical conditions, including migraines, thyroid issues, and rheumatoid arthritis. Acupuncture is also used to treat these conditions, and in doing so, this may reduce the severity of tinnitus.

Mitigating any adverse effects caused by medication

Some medications (NSAIDs, diuretics, some antidepressants, and some antibiotics) may cause tinnitus as a side effect. Acupuncture is frequently used by practitioners to help manage drug-related side effects, which can also help with tinnitus.

Together, these factors can produce noticeable improvement in tinnitus patients.

What Does the Medical Research Say About Acupuncture and Tinnitus?

Although more high-quality research on tinnitus and acupuncture is needed, the studies that have been done thus far have shown promising results in people. Those studies include the following:

  • A 2018 study published in the Caspian Journal of Internal Medicine which looked at 88 adults with tinnitus. In this study, a visual analogue scale (VAS) was used to assess tinnitus symptoms in patients who were split into two groups – an experimental group and a control group. The experimental group received acupuncture treatments for 10 weeks, with results tracked at the five-week and 10-week marks. In both cases, a significant improvement was seen in both the acupuncture and control group, but the results were greater in the acupuncture group.
  • A 2016 review published in the European Archives of Otorhinolaryngology that considered both Chinese and western medical databases for tinnitus studies. Following review, the research team concluded that acupuncture can provide subjective benefits to some patients, though different acupuncture points were used across the Chinese and western studies. While this review suggested that acupuncture could be effective for tinnitus, it also confirmed the importance of working with an acupuncturist who knows which acupuncture points to target.

What to Expect at Your Houston Acupuncture Appointment

Most acupuncture patients find the process to be relaxing, and most report minimal pain or discomfort. Here is how the typical acupuncture session goes:

  • First, an examination – Before your acupuncture session begins, your acupuncturist will perform an examination to assess your overall health. In Chinese medicine, extra attention is given to the patient’s pulse and tongue, as these often provide clues to the patient’s condition.

  • Next, acupuncture treatment begins – Following examination, the acupuncturist will select the best acupuncture points for maximum therapeutic effect. Every patient is different, and every tinnitus case is different, so the acupuncture points they use with one patient may be slightly different from the next person. However, there are several acupuncture points that are associated with tinnitus improvement. These will be incorporated into treatment, in most cases.

    When each acupuncture needle is inserted, there may be a slight sensation, which differs from person to person. For some, it’s a tingling sensation. For others, it feels more like a “heaviness.” In general, these sensations are minor, short-lived, and are rarely associated with significant discomfort.

  • Then, a brief rest – Once the acupuncture needles are inserted into the skin, the acupuncturist will leave the room and allow their patient to rest while the needles do their job. In some cases, the practitioner may remain in the room to manipulate the acupuncture needles for improved effect. This usually takes about 30 minutes and it is common for patients to relax to the point that they fall asleep.

  • Last, the acupuncture needles are removed – Following a brief relaxation period, your acupuncturist will return to the treatment room to remove all acupuncture needles. This step doesn’t take long, but it is done with care to minimize any discomfort.

Contact a Reputable Houston Acupuncturist for Help with Tinnitus?

In some people, tinnitus can be a constant nuisance that interferes with sleep, work, study, and other important daily tasks. It can also indicate potential ear damage or disease, such as early hearing loss.

Though there are treatments for tinnitus, such as earwax removal and hearing aids, for example, they provide incomplete relief in many patients. If this is the case for your tinnitus, acupuncture therapy may offer additional results.

In fact, acupuncture is emerging as a frontline treatment option for a variety of medical conditions, and there are practitioners who are also board certified in western, allopathic medicine. Working with a dual-certified practitioner means you’ll have access to the best of western and eastern treatments for tinnitus, including high quality acupuncture.

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