The New Year is quickly approaching, and that means it’s resolution-making time. According to multiple surveys, people are much better at making resolutions than they are at keeping them. In 2022, only about 10 percent of people were still committed to their resolutions by February. The most common New Year’s resolution is to live healthier, but many people are have trouble knowing where to start.
If you’re one of millions of people who are also determined to live healthier in 2023, then eastern medical practices like acupuncture can support that goal. Eastern medicine is focused on whole-body health in patients, and less with targeting specific maladies. This holistic approach is particularly effective against pain and stress, downsides that are common with many New Year’s resolutions.
What New Year’s Resolutions Can Acupuncture Help With?
More than half of New Year’s resolutions are focused on better health. Of course, health goals differ from person to person, but they often include:
- Losing weight
- Exercising more
- Reducing or eliminating smoking or alcohol
- Lowering stress levels
- Dealing with anxiety or depression
- Addressing poorly treated chronic issues
- Improving sleep quality
While these are all noble health goals, implementing them can be difficult in the short-term. Exercising more puts a physical toll on the body. Cutting unhealthy food, alcohol or tobacco can produce a spike in anxiety and irritability. Managing chronic conditions is a challenge itself and requires a strong commitment to overall health.
Healthier living comes with short-term downsides, especially for people who are breaking long-term bad habits. To make the process easier, many people turn to acupuncture as a meaningful support therapy.
How Can Acupuncture Help People Achieve Their New Year’s Resolutions?
Medical research shows that acupuncture is a viable treatment for a large variety of conditions. In most cases, acupuncture is recommended as an adjunct, or supportive therapy that works best when combined with western allopathic methods.
Multiple studies and meta-analyses confirm that acupuncture is an effective treatment for acute and chronic pain. One example is a 2018 meta-analysis, published in the Journal of Pain. The analysis considered more than 20,000 patients and found that acupuncture had a clinically significant effect on pain, and that its positive effects persisted over time.
Effective pain management can help people who are pushing themselves to exercise more. Pain management is also important in patients with chronic conditions.
Other studies show that acupuncture improves the symptoms of anxiety and depression. A 2021 analysis published in the Annals of General Psychiatry considered 20 acupuncture studies and found that the therapy was beneficial in reducing anxiety symptoms. Most interesting, the analysis found that acupuncture was more effective than medication in this regard.
Another study from 2022 was published in the European review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences and found that acupuncture was better than anti-anxiety medications in reducing medical and preoperative anxiety.
Given its anxiety-reducing benefits, acupuncture can support attempts to quit smoking or alcohol, as both can generate short-term increased anxiety. And if reducing your overall stress levels is a goal, acupuncture’s anti-anxiety effects are beneficial.
Eastern Medicine Boosts Whole-Body Health, Which Can Make New Year’s Resolutions Easier to Manage
Eastern medical practices are becoming a popular adjunct option for western patients. Millions of Americans receive acupuncture treatment every year, and the number is increasing year-over-year. Acupuncture, though, isn’t the only eastern therapy that can help with New Year’s resolutions. Others include:
- Moxibustion – Moxibustion is a form of heat therapy. During treatment, the practitioner burns mugwort leaves and holds them close to the patient’s acupuncture points. No contact with the skin is made during the process, but the heat is held close enough for the skin to redden. Once this occurs, the practitioner moves on to the next treatment point.
Moxibustion is often used in conjunction with acupuncture, as it’s believed to improve the effects of acupuncture treatment. It can be used on its own to help with pain in certain areas – notably those affected by arthritis.
- Herbal therapy – Botanicals have been a staple in eastern medicine for centuries. Herbal therapy is typically used to maintain homeostasis, or balance, in the body. This can help with energy levels, pain, sleep, digestion, and overall health. Botanicals can also help restore hormonal balance, which is why postmenopausal women sometimes turn to herbal therapies for hot flashes and other symptoms.
Better pain management, better sleep and more energy are just what the doctor ordered if you’re planning New Year’s resolutions.
A major feature of eastern medicine is that it prioritizes whole-body health instead of compartmentalizing the body by its organs. Eastern medicine considers the body to be an interconnected network of systems. Achieving and maintaining balance is the optimal way to support better health and healthier habits.
Focusing on Health With Your New Year’s Resolutions? Acupuncture and Eastern Medicine Can Help
If you’re setting New Year’s resolutions for 2023, chances are you’re aiming for better health. Healthier habits, though, can be tough to permanently cement – with only 10 percent of people even making it a month. Acupuncture and other eastern therapies can improve your chances of sticking to those resolutions by providing relief from pain and stress.