Acupuncture has been used for centuries in eastern medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments. It is a system of inserting long, thin needles into the skin at strategic points on the body. The needles stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue. It is most often used to relieve pain, but has many other benefits, as well.
Though most Westerners know about acupuncture, the treatment is still relatively new in this part of the world. However, acupuncture is gaining popularity as a treatment for many different types of problems, including impotence, or erectile dysfunction (ED).
Here's what you need to know if you're considering acupuncture as an ED treatment.
Erectile Dysfunction Has Several Causes
According to the most recent data, impotence affects about 5% of men over forty. At age 65, however, between 15% and 25% experience ED on a regular basis. It is defined as the inability to have an erection that is hard enough for intercourse.
An erection is the result of increased blood flow to the penis during arousal. When a man becomes aroused, muscles in the penis relax, allowing blow to flow into the penis. An erection occurs when more blood is flowing in than out. Any problem that interferes with this increased blood flow causes erectile dysfunction.
There are several causes for ED. Some are physiological, and include too much alcohol, chronic health conditions, and medications. In particular, any illness that alters blood flow, such as atherosclerosis or weak veins can cause ED. It can even happen on occasion simply from being too tired.
There are also psychological causes for ED. Stress, anxiety, low self esteem, depression, and unresolved anger can all contribute to ED.
Acupuncture has been shown to be an effective ED treatment, particularly when the causes for ED are psychological, at least in part.
Traditional Eastern medicine focuses on balance in the body. Erectile dysfunction, or any situation where the body's blood flow is compromised, means that the body is not properly balanced.
Acupuncture helps restore balance of the body's 14 primary energy pathways by stimulating nerves. It is most effective on ED when the problem is psychological because there are no illnesses or medications blocking proper blood flow.
Acupuncture treatments for ED include a series of pinpricks down the back, on either side of the spine, and sometimes on the extremities. Some acupuncture specialists prescribe natural remedies, like ginseng, as well. Acupuncture treatments for erectile dysfunction are generally once per week for 10-20 weeks, depending upon the severity of the problem.
Does it Really Work?
Acupuncture may not be a successful treatment for men whose impotence is caused by medications or chronic health conditions. Removing the root cause of the ED, by addressing health issues or working with doctors to adjust medications should be the first step.
However, a study published in the International Journal of Impotence suggests that acupuncture can be a very effective treatment for ED when the problem is psychologically induced. The study showed that 68% of the participants reported their ED was cured after six weeks of treatment with acupuncture.
If you suffer from erectile dysfunction and are unsure of the cause, pay a visit to your doctor. It is important to make lifestyle changes, like reducing alcohol intake, quitting smoking, and losing weight, if needed.
You should also be screened for health issues that might be causing ED, as well as discuss whether or not your problem could be a side effect from medication you're currently taking.
But, before you resort to more serious treatments for ED, like prescription medications or penile implants, talk to an acupuncture professional to see if your impotence can be solved with a safe, natural remedy like acupuncture.
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