Baby boomers are reaching the retirement age in record numbers, and Medicare is becoming more and more desperate and close to collapse. Now more than ever, Americans and older adults specifically, need to begin to take their healthcare into their own hands.
The days of leaving your healthcare decisions up to you MD/GP are over. According to a survey by AARP, 53% of Americans over the age of 50 have taken part in some form of Complementary or Alternative forms of Medicine as an adjunct to their regular medical care. Below are some ways that Chinese Medicine can support the older community in ways you may not have thought of..
Acupuncture helps to relieve the pain and stiffness associated with all types of arthritis; numerous studies have proven this point. From the Chinese medicine perspective, arthritis pain and stiffness are generally caused by an accumulation of dampness, or fluid surrounding the joints and throughout the body. The skilled Chinese Medicine practitioner can support the clearing of these fluids from the body with the use of tiny needles, moxibustion, and eastern-based nutrition strategies. Chinese herbal medicine is also an option.
This research is still in its infancy, but animal studies show that acupuncture can help improve memory and help to minimize memory loss related to aging. Recently, a patient said this to me, “Since I’ve started coming for acupuncture, my husband tells me I’m not as forgetful!” This was like music to my ears, especially when this improved memory was just a “side-effect of our treatment, and not even the main reason the patient originally sought out care.
Acupuncture can support seniors in reducing possible side effects of other necessary medications. A perfect example of this is constipation which is often a side effect of medications.
Also, acupuncture has been proven to alleviate nausea and other side effects of chemo-therapy. Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) is common side effect of antibiotics (gentamicin). Acupuncture has been shown to improve tinnitus symptoms when used in conjunction with ginger moxa.
Acupuncture has been proven effective in the treatment of hearing loss. A study published in 2015 in The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine found that Acupuncture was an effective treatment for sensorineural hearing loss related to nerve damage.
The typical medical treatment for hearing loss ranges from getting a cochlear implant to medications like steroids or vasodilators. Either way, acupuncture can be a simpler and less invasive choice for some.
Li, Shilin, Yan Xiao, Yingli Song, and Jiang Wu. “Efficacy Observation of Acupuncture Combined with Ginger Moxibustion to Treatment of 34 Cases of Intractable Tinnitus.” Zhongyi Zhongyao (Traditional Chinese Medicine and Herbs) Aug. 2013: 277-278
Siddiqui, M. J., Min, C. S., Verma, R. K., & Jamshed, S. Q. (2014). Role of complementary and alternative medicine in geriatric care: A mini review. Pharmacognosy reviews, 8(16), 81–87. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.134230
Huang, et al. A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Acpucnture for Improving Learning and Memory in Animals. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016 Aug 19;16(1):297. doi: 10.1186/s12906-016-1298-3