Acupuncture for hair loss
Whether you were born with a predisposition to hair loss or it took you by surprise, losing your hair is never desirable. Scientists and businesses have searched for years to find a solution to female- and male-pattern baldness. Because varying causes contribute to balding, it can be difficult to find a one-size-fits-all solution. Some have found acupuncture to be helpful in counteracting the effects of hair loss.
Can acupuncture help slow or reverse your hair loss? Below, we’ll talk about the varying reasons you may be experiencing hair loss, why acupuncture is sometimes unsuccessful, and how to determine whether you are a good candidate for acupuncture treatment.
Most importantly, be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any medical treatment. Most of the problems and side effects with acupuncture come as a result of improper practicing. Your doctor may know a trustworthy acupuncturist who uses proper sterilization, good technique, and quality materials that will not cause negative side effects in the future.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture stimulates the nerves in your body with tiny needles to promote certain responses. These responses vary based on the type of acupuncture you receive: for example, certain locations will alter hormone responses, while others will release biological painkillers to your body. Some will increase blood flow, while others increase healing.
Though all these effects have been measured, scientists aren’t entirely certain why they occur. Still, the process is low-risk and tends to result in better health for participants, so it’s widely practiced in alternative medicine.
Some claim that acupuncture can help reverse hair loss. Is it true? Keep reading to find out:
What causes hair loss – and can acupuncture help?
There are many reasons people lose their hair as they age. In fact, scientists are not totally certain of all of the causes; some require additional research to understand. Here are the most common causes of hair loss:
DHT and hormones: No
Both men and women have testosterone in their body. When the body produces testosterone, it also produces a few byproducts. One of these byproducts (DHT) attaches to hair follicles and prevents them from thriving. Over time, DHT accumulates on your hair follicles and weakens them. Your follicles eventually lose the ability to produce hair.
Some treatments focus on removing DHT from your hair follicles or discouraging further attachment. Unfortunately, acupuncture is unable to do either. If you’re interested in acupuncture for hair loss, it’s important that your follicles be free of DHT.
If one of your parents or extended relatives (especially on your mother’s side) had DHT-caused hair loss, you are at greater risk for it, too. It appears to be one cause of male- and female-pattern baldness, which begins at the top of the head and works outward.
Calcification of blood vessels: No
Sometimes, hair loss occurs because hair follicles are unable to obtain nutrients from the bloodstream. This can be caused by calcification of the blood vessels leading to the hair follicles.
Calcification can be serious if left untreated. If you suspect calcification may be the cause of your baldness, talk with your doctor. They will likely recommend a stronger method of action than acupuncture if your health is at risk.
Autoimmune diseases: Perhaps
Does anyone in your family suffer from autoimmune diseases?
With autoimmune diseases, your body begins to treat itself the way it treats bacteria. Often, the body’s immune system identifies something specific – such as hair – and targets it for elimination.
If you have noticed hair coming out in unorganized clumps, rather than in a specific area at the top of your head, you may have alopecia areata (the autoimmune disease relating to hair).
Acupuncture has been theorized to help alleviate alopecia areata, but no studies have conclusively shown success. Since there are some anecdotal tales of acupuncture reversing alopecia, and alopecia currently has no known cure, it may be helpful to try acupuncture for hair growth in these situations.
Other causes: Perhaps
Hair loss is not entirely understood. It’s possible your hair loss is due to stress, lowered blood circulation, or another cause.
Acupuncture has few or no side effects when used for hair loss. Many other treatments have dangerous side effects or interfere with common medications. If you’re frustrated by pattern baldness or other hair struggles, trying acupuncture for hair growth is fairly low-risk.
In addition, acupuncture can decrease stress and increase blood flow. Each of these benefits has its own set of health benefits – from better sleep to a healthier heart. Trying acupuncture for hair loss may benefit your whole body as well.
If your hair loss is caused by stress or blood flow, acupuncture may theoretically help prevent further hair loss. However, this must be studied further before anything certain can be stated.
Acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years. It could lower blood pressure, decrease chronic pain, and more. But can acupuncture help prevent or reverse hair loss?
Acupuncture alone is not enough to relieve most causes of hair loss. It cannot (to current knowledge) change the hormonal attachment to hair follicles, prevent or reverse calcification of blood vessels in the scalp, or conclusively combat autoimmune diseases.
However, many individuals claim to have experienced hair regrowth after acupuncture treatment. It’s possible this regrowth was the result of better circulation, better overall health, or decreased stress; it’s also possible science has not fully explored the benefits of acupuncture.
Because acupuncture has many health benefits and few risks, it’s a good treatment to try first for hair loss. At the end of your treatment, you may still experience pattern baldness – but you’ll be overall a healthier individual.