Chiropractics and Acupuncture: Are They in the Same League?

chiropractic-acupunctureMost people are curious about ways to expand their health and wellness strategies beyond regular checkups with the family doctor, and even things like diet and exercise. These are, of course, crucial aspects of health and wellbeing today. But there is much to be gained from broadening your horizons and seeking input from other healthcare professionals such as dieticians, massage therapists and chiropractic care professionals.

Many people also run up against acupuncture in their research, and wonder how it compares to something like chiropractic care. Are these two practices related? Can similar benefits be expected by visiting either a chiropractor or an acupuncturist?

The short answer is no: These are two very different practices based on different understandings of the human body. The practice of acupuncture comes from ancient China and is based on the idea of energy channels and meridians, which facilitate the flow of qi or life force through the body.

Although many people experience benefits from acupuncture and consider it a valuable part of their wellness regimen, modern medical science has yet to find any evidence of anatomical structures cited by acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Numerous field trials and studies have likewise failed to produce compelling evidence in support of acupuncture.

Chiropractics is a different story. If you look at the medical research for this area of practice, you will likewise find many conflicting reports. One thing is certain: Chiropractic care is based on a solid, accepted understanding of the human nervous system. It’s also true that numerous objective studies have found clear benefits for chiropractic care, especially in the treatment of back pain and chronic conditions like sciatica.

In short, there are people who swear by each of these practices. Some people even incorporate both chiropractics and acupuncture into their health strategies. But when the two practices are lined up, it appears there is more medical evidence supporting the effectiveness of chiropractics than of acupuncture.

Does this mean that acupuncture should be discarded by people looking to explore alliterative forms of treatment? Not at all. When performed by a skilled practitioner, acupuncture appears to be safe. Some of the benefits people report are suspected by researchers to be placebo, but the mainstream understanding of acupuncture may continue to evolve.

Many people consider chiropractics a worthwhile and mainstream form of treatment; but it’s crucial to choose your practitioner carefully. Chiropractic care involves manual manipulations of the spine known as subluxations, and should only be administered under the supervision of a highly skilled practitioner. Medical science will continue to better understand this practice over time, but the relief that many people find in Chiropractics is real and well-documented.

With any type of medical practitioner, alternative or not, it’s important to be mindful of who you work with. Chiropractic care is a great example. Fully mastering this practice takes many years of serious study and practice at a licensed institution. You also want someone who will listen to your concerns and be sensitive to your feedback during the course of treatment. Invariably, patients who seek treatment from highly reputable chiropractic professionals experience a higher level of benefit—both immediate and long-term—than patients who receive care from less reputable providers.