Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese holistic health treatment method, has been practiced popularly as a solution to thinning hair and all other hair-related problems. Acupuncture as a hair loss treatment is gaining popularity in both the Asian and Western countries thanks to its effectiveness.
It is observed that more and more Americans are opting for alternative medicines such as naturopathy, massage and traditional Asian treatments, mainly on account of its effectiveness without imparting any side effects. Acupuncture has now gained the position of a premier integrative medicine in health care. The World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health have sanctioned the use of acupuncture in the cure of over 80 ailments, which includes pain, stress and insomnia.
What Is Acupuncture And How Does It Work?
Known as one of the oldest known therapies in the world, acupuncture is an ancient system of medicine that is based on observation. Developed thousands of years ago, the basic idea behind this Chinese holistic treatment scheme is that energy flows within human body, and considers any disease as a result of some imbalance in the body. Balance and health can be re-established by stimulating this energy flow (‘Qi’). Qi travels all through the body along 12 main channels called meridians or the major organs and functions of the body.
The primary treatment in this Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) involves the rectification of imbalances, if any, in the body by stimulating this energy flow. This is achieved by inserting needles in various trigger points or pressure points in the body. These needles inserted with appropriate combinations are believed to bring back the energy flow into accurate balance. This specific alternative health field has identified 400 different acupuncture points, till now. This therapy aims to promote natural healing in the body by stimulating trigger points.
What Causes Hair Loss?
Hair loss is a very popular condition faced by people of all age groups. The reasons for hair loss and other hair-related problems can be different for different people, and its intensity also differs. With advancing age, the problem deepens. Male-pattern hair loss is particularly common, which results in partial or complete baldness.
Female-pattern hair loss is generally restricted to thinning of the hair in the front and crown regions. Stress, tension, family heredity, too much anxiety, poor nutrition, hormonal imbalances and other factors have been identified as the main causes of hair loss. Other major reasons that can contribute to severe hair loss are: anemia, bulimia, hepatic failure, thyroid disease, hypothyroidism, liver disease, renal failure or viral infections.
Since hair is considered as a ‘dead’ organ, topical application of creams, oils, conditioners or other lubricants will just make it more manageable; but will not result in growth. The secret of beautiful hair lies inside the human body. A healthy diet plan enriched with fatty acids, proteins, minerals etc. will contribute much to the healthy growth of hair.
Acupuncture And Hair Growth
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According to TCM, the health of hair depends on the sufficient quantity of qi, blood and kidney energy within the body. Since hair follicles derive nourishment from blood, toxicity in the blood will affect the health and vitality of hair. Toning the kidneys helps in purifying the blood, since kidneys control the sustenance of the hair. Inadequacy of qi, blood and kidney energy will lead to hair loss and other associated glitches. Acupuncture enhances blood flow and strengthens the kidneys resulting in the healthy growth of hair.
Since hair follicles support hair growth, it is necessary that there should be proper flow of purified blood in the body and scalp. Improving the quality of blood is the main concern in acupuncture in treating hair loss. The treatment also involves the use of some herbal preparations, herbal tea and some other supplements to facilitate hair growth. Stress plays an important part in hair loss by restricting or blocking proper flow of blood to the scalp.
Penetrating needles in pressure points is believed to have the effect of correcting toxicity in human blood. It also helps in improved blood circulation around scalp region, which will in turn aid in repairing damaged cells, promote new hair cells, and reinforce hair follicles with the end result of healthy growth of hair. It is a well-known fact that massaging the scalp helps in promoting healthy hair, thanks to the enhanced blood circulation.
This increased blood circulation helps hair follicles to absorb the vital nutrients more effectively. The same philosophy applies here, but through stimulating pressure points in scalp by inserting hair-thin needles. Some acupuncturists may use a seven-star hammer, or plum blossom needle, which is a tiny, hammer-shaped device containing several small needles. By gently placing this tool on the surface of the scalp skin will stimulate blood flow and encourage new hair growth.
Besides acupuncture, the balance and harmony in energy flow can be created by adhering to a variety of approaches, including nutrition, herbal medicine, and lifestyle changes. ‘Moxa’ is a special herb that helps in amassing energy, normalizing blood circulation, which is supposed to accumulate energy, normalize blood circulation and eliminate obstructions in human body through the use of heat.
A research study has found out that acupuncture used along with the external application of the Chinese herb astragalus showed comparatively more better results. Chinese medicine also suggests the proper and balanced intake of healthy food to promote hair growth. The outer skin of plants such as potatoes and cucumbers, as well as green and red peppers and sprouts, are known to give strength to hair thanks to its mineral silica properties. Evening primrose oil, flaxseed oil and fish oils also prevent damage to the hair follicles and facilitate healthy hair growth.
Acupuncture is now widely embraced as an alternative hair loss treatment. This traditional treatment is free from any harmful side effects, and therefore can be used safely. Even though this technique is yet to get scientific backing, acupuncture has grown as a universal treatment procedure, which is popularly sought after for muscle and nervous system relaxation.