A new research article looks at acupuncture points and psychotherapy in practise. The interesting new article in the Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, discusses the use of acupuncture points within psychotherapy (the reference, and links to original article are below).
A holistic approach is increasingly being understood to include more that one modality to increase how effective an approach can be. This is well known for crossing the borders between, say mainstream medicine in areas like pain, but possible less so in the sphere of mental health, despite the fat that acupuncture and TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) have long included protocols for health on all levels of mind and body.
Traditional acupuncture uses needle stimulation on a network of specific points, tailored to the patient and presenting condition. In addition to, or instead of needles, acupuncturists can also use heat or acupressure (needle-less stimulation of points).
Tapping of a specific set of points in a protocol, is a fairly ew approach to self-care when experiencing anxiety or pain symptoms, for example. This can be done when the patient has been trained on how to do this, and increasingly this has been adopted in other settings. Today, other techniques incorporate some of the benefits of acupuncture alongside talking therapies, and there is a decent and growing research body here.
Per this research article Feinstein (2022 – ref and link below) the research and use of this are coming to the fore; there are “28 systematic reviews and meta-analyses, 125 clinical trials, 24 case studies, 26 reports describing systematic observations, 17 mixed-method clinical trials that included a tapping component, and 88 articles addressing clinical procedures, theory, mechanisms, or related issues” (Feinstein, 2022).
Sometimes called Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), this shows the way in which cross-modality approaches can be applicable to real life cases. The acupuncture component of this has indeed been shown to be an active part of EFT (Church et al, 2018).
The overall outcome from looking at the state of research into the integration into psychotherapy of using tapping of acupuncture points is promising, and that the growing evidence base documents the effectiveness, speed, and durability of the approach.
Church, D., Stapleton, P., Yang, A. and Gallo, F., 2018. Is tapping on acupuncture points an active ingredient in Emotional Freedom Techniques? A systematic review and meta-analysis of comparative studies. The Journal of nervous and mental disease, 206(10), pp.783-793.
Feinstein, D., 2022. Integrating the manual stimulation of acupuncture points into psychotherapy: A systematic review with clinical recommendations. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2022-61876-001