Acupressure and Acupuncture for ADHD
While there are several medications on the market for treating ADHD, medication alone is often not the answer. Rather than treating ADHD with medication on its own, many people turn to other forms of therapy to help them better manage their symptoms.
One form of alternative therapy that’s been growing in popularity among ADHD patients is acupuncture.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture has been around for centuries, and is known for healing a wide-variety of health conditions. The idea of acupuncture is what it works to stimulate specific pressure points on the body, which each work in different ways to provide healing effects.
The pressure points are stimulated through the use of acupuncture needles, which are inserted into the skin. Due to the size and the insertion method, there isn’t any pain experienced during acupuncture, and most people describe it as a relaxing experience. The bodies energy flow, which can become disrupted, is improved during acupuncture, which leads to the overall positive results seen with this alternative therapy.
By stimulating the pressure points within the body, malfunctioning in the body's organs is corrected, allowing that organ and brain to work properly together and improving ADHD symptoms. A study done at the Mayo Clinic with Dr. Bower, who has been licensed in the study of ADHD for over 20 years, confirmed this information. While the use of only acupuncture for ADHD treatment isn’t recommended, it works great in conjunction with medication therapy, they stated.
Most people know that ADHD is often accompanied by other problems, like depression and anxiety. Experts believe that by using acupuncture for treatment in ADHD, any additional issues like these will also be corrected. For optimal results from the acupuncture, it’s suggested that diet changes, time management techniques, exercise, and similar healthy lifestyle changes are made to help improve the symptoms of ADHD and the conditions accompanying it.
A study involving 55 volunteers aged seven to 92, who had ADHD, insomnia, or depression, and also experienced anxiety, found acupuncture helped almost all of them.
Lying in a comfortable position, the patients received acupuncture via alcohol-cleaned needles. The sessions lasted 30 to 45 minutes. The needles were twirled every five to 10 minutes. They were then removed.
The acupuncture points that the researchers selected were located on the heart, spleen, kidneys, liver and stomach meridian, as well as the bladder, gall bladder, and du meridians.
Results were measured according to different standards; Standard 1 indicated no depression, anxiety or stress felt after one to three sessions; Standard 2 was reserved for those who responded to treatment between four and ten sessions; Standard 3 referred to those who did not respond after ten sessions, or had poor reactions to treatment.
96% of the ADHD patients showed improvement, 67% of these responding in the very first treatment session. Of the 47 patients with insomnia, there was a 96% success rate, and of the 39 patients with an emotional disorder, there was a 90% success rate.
Some patients were able to cease using their various medications remain symptom-free; many of these patients had been using said medications for several years.
According to acupuncturist Michael Reed Gach, Ph.D., applying pressure to these three ‘Governing Vessel Points’ is helpful for those with ADHD:
- Governing Vessel 26 – This point is easy to find; it’s halfway between the nose and the upper lip. Simply press it to stimulate your gums. This acupressure point is used to achieve clear thinking, which will overtake the feeling of being overwhelmed. If you ever feel faint, this is the place to stimulate!
- Governing Vessel 20 – This point is located in the middle of the top of your head. Twelve meridians meet at this point. Stimulating this point is useful for relieving headaches, dizziness, eye pain and irritability.
- Governing Vessel 24.5 – This is commonly known as the ‘Third Eye Point’ and it’s located exactly where the nose meets your eyebrows. Stimulating this point is said to help with focus, memory, concentration, relieving stress, calming the nerves and fighting fatigue.
Touching the #2 and #3 points simultaneously may help accelerate the results.
While acupuncture has been around for a long time, its use for ADHD is somewhat new. However, patients who’ve started using this technique have stated that they’ve seen a huge improvement in their ADHD symptoms, and have never felt better. The experts involved in the study think that everyone should try it out for a short period of time and see if it offers any benefits for their case. You have nothing more to lose than a little time, and if it works out for you, you’ll experience a great improvement in your overall quality of life.