Acupuncture as an alternative therapy for pain management may prove to be a powerful component of addiction recovery programs.

The path to recovery from addiction is often long, and the route it takes varies for different people. While addiction recovery requires sustained hard work, it also requires sustained self-care. How people choose to care for themselves as part of recovery varies because of factors like upbringing, culture, and a person’s individual personality.

Addiction recovery is a process that encompasses the entire individual, body, soul, and mind, and all three of those components must be looked after for the highest probability of long-term success. Some people with substance abuse issues turn to care methods that are traditional to other cultures, such as acupuncture.

What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is considered an alternative or complementary medical practice. It involves stimulating precise points on the body, usually using fine needles penetrating the skin. It has been used in Eastern cultures for thousands of years for the alleviation of pain and relief from various medical conditions. In Western countries, acupuncture is most often used for treating issues like pain and nausea.

The practice of acupuncture is believed to precede recorded history and is still used in modern Chinese medicine. It is based on a theory that disease is caused by disruptions to the flow of energy in the body. By stimulating points under the skin using fine needles, acupuncture is believed to unblock the flow of energy. It is believed by some Western scientists to help the brain release natural endorphins, resulting in feelings of well-being and higher pain tolerance.

How Might Acupuncture Help with Addiction Recovery?

Studies of acupuncture as a component of an addiction recovery program are sparse, but studies published in respected medical journals like the Archives of Internal Medicine and the American Journal of Public Health have reported that acupuncture therapy was beneficial to the recovery of people with tobacco and cocaine addictions.

Stress reduction and relief from pain are perhaps the two primary benefits of acupuncture, and it is easy to see how this might benefit people in recovery from opiate abuse disorders. Acupuncture as an alternative therapy for pain management may prove to be a powerful component of addiction recovery programs, particularly with addictions involving painkillers. Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years, but the scale of opioid addiction society is dealing with now is fairly new. It will take time for large-scale results of acupuncture to be assessed more completely.


Why a Holistic Approach to Addiction Recovery Is Best

Addiction recovery must be individualized, because while addictions share symptoms and dangers, ultimately addictions are as unique as the individuals who have them. No two people share the same life experiences, heartbreak, challenges, stresses, and demands, and that is why addiction treatment must be individualized and must address the individual as a whole.

Just as you could not successfully install a skylight in your home without considering the structural components, the direction of sunlight, and goals for a particular room, you cannot approach addiction recovery without considering every aspect of life, including work, family, friendships, service, and co-occurring illnesses. For many people, acupuncture may be a helpful aspect of addressing holistic health during addiction recovery.

Do Not Settle for a One-Size-Fits-All Approach to Recovery

If there were a single addiction recovery method that worked all the time, there would be fewer worries about relapse and recovery rates. In the real world, a one-size-fits-all approach to recovery will inevitably leave some people behind. If you are struggling with the illness of addiction, do not settle for addiction treatment that is the same for everyone in a facility. While many of the components of recovery treatment will be similar, your best chance for long-term recovery comes from a program that is individualized to your needs, and it may or may not include alternative therapies like acupuncture.

We encourage you to learn more about admissions. There is no obligation, and finding out more will put you one step closer to your unique path to successful recovery from addiction.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.