You may already know the causes of Erectile Dysfunction (ED). Again. Hormone imbalance. Certain medications. Even stress, anxiety and depression. But that doesn’t help combat the problem that impacts roughly 52% of men, making it far more common than most people think.
However, current treatment options focus on improving lifestyle habits and prescription medications like Viagra or Cialis. But did you know researchers are exploring newer treatments options based on the ancient principles of Far Eastern medication?
What’s particularly exciting is the research into acupuncture for ED, which is yielding some very promising results. ED is a complex medical condition. It causes men to either lose their desire for sex or impacts their ability to get or maintain an erection.
However, here’s the question. Can acupuncture treatment really improve your sex life by treating your erectile dysfunction? Before we explore the answer to that question, let’s look at what acupuncture is.
What is Acupuncture?
Traditional Chinese medicine believes that a state of health exists when there is a balance of yin and yang. Yin and yang are the conflicting energy of one’s life force also known as qi. Illness, therefore, is the result of an imbalance of those forces and treatment should focus on restoring balance.
What to Expect in an Acupuncture Session?
Acupuncture inserts thin needles into points along your meridians, in specific orders, combinations, and depths to bring qi back into a harmonious flow. The location of needles during a session for ED treatment are your abdomen, hands, and legs, not in your genitalia.
During needle insertion, you may feel brief tingling or stinging, but it is relatively painless. Adding heat or electricity to the needles is also common. The needles remain in place for 5-30 minutes. The number of sessions needed is highly variable.
Want to Try Acupuncture for ED? How to Find the Right Acupuncturist.
The National Certification Commission in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) will help find a licensed practitioner. It is important to ask practitioners about their education and training as well as their experience working with ED patients.
There are minimal risks associated with acupuncture. They include bruising, swelling, or soreness. The standard practice is to use sterile, single-use needles and infection risk is low. The benefits, in this case, far outweigh the risks. Do not try acupuncture if you have a bleeding disorder or are on blood thinners.
Current Research on Acupuncture
We actually know quite a lot about which conditions benefit from acupuncture. According to the Acupuncture Evidence Project, there are 117 conditions that acupuncture can treat in some manner. During the project, researchers reviewed the effectiveness of acupuncture for 122 treatments over 14 clinical areas.
Overall, it appears that acupuncture is most effective in pain management. It shows promise in other areas, especially those associated with reproduction, but the number of studies in this area is small.
When looking at the effectiveness of acupuncture in scientific studies, keep the following in mind. In the strongest study, a randomized controlled clinical trial, the patient does not know if they are receiving treatment or a placebo. It is very difficult to not let the subject know you are inserting needles. Research in this area is challenging and it will take multiple studies to truly understand the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment modality for ED.
Research into understanding how acupuncture works, however, is not well understood. Does it balance energy? Does it have a neurological effect? The answer to this is still unraveling.
Research on Acupuncture for ED
Western science has matched some of the Chinese meridians to neural pathways and locations where nerves, muscles, and connective tissue meet. Stimulation of these areas, with needles or manual pressure, increases the blood flow to the area and stimulates the body’s natural painkillers. Increased nerve sensation and increase blood flow both benefits those suffering from erectile dysfunction.
Acupuncture for ED Caused by Psychological Issues
Research in Austria compared acupuncture for ED to a placebo group treated with acupuncture for headaches. They reported that 68.4% of the treatment group reported improved erections. While the remaining treatment group reported minor improvements.
Researchers from Australia compared two groups of men suffering from ED. The treatment group received acupuncture in locations to benefit ED. The control group received acupuncture in different locations. Acupuncture cured 2/3rds of the participants of their ED and those participants did not seek additional treatment. The remaining 1/3 noted some benefit from acupuncture but requested additional medical support.
Because there is a strong psychological component to ED. Meeting with an acupuncturist, itself, may help to provide emotional support for men suffering from ED.
It may be hard to talk about ED. If you are uncomfortable discussing your ED symptoms or treatment with your physician, explore telemedicine options.
Research to date has primarily focused on individuals with ED caused by psychological issues. While the mechanism of action is not fully understood, the result on ED is mostly positive.
To determine if acupuncture is beneficial for ED caused by medications or mechanical reasons, we need additional research.
Blending Acupuncture and Traditional Western Medicine
Acupuncture is an adjunct therapy, often used alongside traditional western medicine to western medicine to optimize results. This is particularly helpful for those with ED caused by emotional and physical reasons.
When Western Medicine Fails
If you have tried medications, like Viagra, without success. Acupuncture may provide a solution. A case study, on a single patient, found that manual acupuncture combined with acupuncture with electrical simulation improved erection function in 5 major areas of the erection:
- Maintenance during sex;
- Maintenance to completion; and
- Overall satisfaction.
This study shows promise for those who have not found a successful treatment for their ED
A study at the Yunnan Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine combined acupuncture with Chinese herbs to treat ED. This study found a total effective rate of 46.56%. Harnessing the power of Chinese herbs, in addition to acupuncture, could improve ED treatment outcomes.
Ready for Real Solutions to Your Erectile Dysfunction?
Research into Acupuncture for ED is still in its early stages. However, there are other treatments and immediate solutions available. Most men simply don’t resolve to finding a solution because they’re too embarrassed or ashamed to explain their problems to a doctor.
That’s why Alpha Now created its Alpha Club. With the Alpha Club, all you have to do is fill out a simple questionnaire on ED and we’ll match you up for a virtual doctor’s visit with one of our board-certified physicians. The best part? After that, we’ll discreetly ship your ED meds straight to your doorstep.