how can acupuncture help with hair loss

How Can Acupuncture Help with Hair Loss?

Androgenic Alopecia

When I first heard the words "female pattern baldness," I almost freaked out. Of course, I had just Wikipedia-d how many strands equate to too much shedding, but I mean who wouldn't be scared? Of course, I've heard of male pattern baldness. And you see so many men in their late 30s to early 40s missing patches of hair from the middle of their head that it's almost a style. Sometimes it can hit men as early as their mid-twenties. Thinking that that could happen to me as a female, I immediately started to look for ways to prevent losing any more hair. We can't all rock a shortcut like Amber Rose! Finding remedies for hair loss is challenging and expensive. Dermatologists want to pump you up with antibiotics to decrease inflammation and then work to give you other medications to encourage hair growth. But who wants to pump all of that into their bodies without the guarantee that those medicines are going to work? Not me, so I looked into alternative medicines and stumbled across acupuncture.


Acupuncture is something that I'm familiar with. I used to suffer from intense migraines as a kid, and it came up as a holistic way to combat them. However, I didn't know that it worked in areas outside of pain management and alleviation. So, I looked more into what it could do to help with hair loss. Now for those of you who don't know, acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine. It involves sticking tiny needles into various parts of your body, known as pressure points, at different depths. The needles alleviate pain and balance energy. In the case of hair loss, acupuncture increases blood flow and decrease swelling in the scalp. Allegedly, after six months of acupuncture treatment, your scalp will have less swelling from the area that you're experiencing the most hair loss. It will also cure any itching. These two benefits will create a clear path for the hair follicle to generate hair. However, Acupuncture alone will not do the trick. Your licensed acupuncturist will have to use some herbal supplements and combine the treatment with a hot towel massage to stimulate the hair follicles as well.

Things to Be Considered Before Treatment

There are so many causes for hair loss including:
  • Hereditary issues
  • Side effects from different medications
  • Pregnancy hormone imbalance including both pre and postpartum hormones
  • Traction
  • Various medical conditions
In the African American community, a lot of women suffer from traction alopecia and heat damage to our scalp. The use of hot irons is a big culprit. Chemical burns is another side effect that some of us may have contracted from bad perm experiences. However, you can also contribute hair loss to poor diet choices. Before getting acupuncture, you should probably determine what your underlying issue is. Talk to your primary care doctor about ways that you can combat the hair loss on top of this unconventional method. Whether it be changing the dosage of a medication or auditing your diet, attacking the issue from two sides is never a bad thing. Chinese medicine banks on the liver being healthy. The liver is in charge of circulating blood flow to the top and sides of your head. If you are someone who is under the direction of your doctor to take a lot of medication containing Aspirin other active ingredients that can affect your liver, or your liver is under a lot of stress that can decrease the blood flow. Acupuncture can help stimulate that. Unfortunately, if you've already been permanently bald for sometime acupuncture will not be able to bring back the hair that you've lost. It only works when you're in the midst of losing hair. It can stop you from losing any more. Depending on how severe your hair loss is this may be something that you want to consider before moving forward with the treatments.

Chinese Herbs for Hair Growth

If you're anything like me, you might be a little skeptical about the herbs that your acupuncturist may use. I have a bunch of allergies, so I looked up a lot of the preferred herbs ahead of time, and the majority of them seem pretty safe. Top herb recommendations include:

1) He Shou Wu is also called Fo-Ti or Polygala Vine

Its botanical name is Polygoni multiflori. Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners say that it restores the kidneys and blood. He Shou Wu is classified as a tonic and is taken in Traditional Chinese Medicine to slow reverse hair loss and aging effects like gray hair. The herb is confirmed to stimulate hair growth due to its impact on your hormone glands and zinc content. It works differently from commonly prescribed medicine for hair loss like Minoxidil because it promotes the growth of terminal hair. Terminal hair is the thick hair that you find in the middle of your head. Whereas, the Minoxidil produces thinner "baby hair" that is called vellus hair. You want the terminal hair! He Shou Wu can come in a few different forms. These forms include tea, a powder form, capsules, juice, oil, pills, shampoo, and supplements.

2) Ginseng

is a classic Chinese herb and one that is pretty common here in America. It is so common that there are two types of Ginseng, one in America. It is said to prevent hair loss due to its ability to generate dermal cells in the scalp. These cells reinforce the hair follicle making the hair stronger and more secure in the scalp. Incorporate ginseng into your hair treatment cycle by using natural oils infused with ginseng and massage it into your hair and scalp. You can also take ginseng supplements!

3) Gotu Kola

This is one of the most successful Chinese herbs used in treating hair loss. Referred to as the herb of longevity, Gotu Kola is used in both China and India to improve brain function, reduce stress, and is said to aid in the treatment of Alzheimer's allegedly. However, the most important benefit, in this case, is its ability to improve blood circulation. This herb promotes hair regrowth, which you need in the cases where the follicle has shed its hair and has laid dormant. Women experiencing female pattern baldness or alopecia due to old age should check with their acupuncturist to ensure that this herb gets incorporated into their treatment cycle. Luckily, Gotu Kola can be used in the forms of oil, extract, powder and capsules. Before your acupuncturist starts the process of sticking the needles in at the site of hair loss they will combine and mix of different herbs together and rub it on the site.

Cost and Safety Implications

Compared to be surgical options to restore hair that costs thousands of dollars, acupuncture is very affordable. It can be paid for by the session. Nevertheless, each case of hair loss varies in severity so is hard to know how many sessions each person will need. You can treat A mild case of hair loss with a course of 8 to 12 sessions. Regarding results, sometimes depending on the severity, it could take up to 6 months to start seeing any hair growth or reduction of hair loss. One individual session can range from 85 to $150 depending on where you live. Acupuncture is extremely safe. As long as you make sure that you see a licensed acupuncturist, your most significant risk would be having an allergic reaction to the herbs that they use. That is why it's essential to inquire about those ahead of time. Your practitioner can create a substitute blend for your scalp. You may think that the use of needles could mean that the procedure is an extremely high risk but the insertion is usually shallow.

Acupuncture for Hair Loss: Is it Worth Trying?

We all know that a full head of hair is a confidence booster. If you think that your hair loss is due to your poor diet choices, or it's just a symptom of something else going on with your body acupuncture is an excellent alternative method to help you decrease the swelling, minimize irritation, and get your scout back to a healthy place in which a hair follicle can produce hair. Not everyone wants to use chemicals to treat the ailments that they deal with on a day-to-day basis. To a lot of people, invasive surgery is also a non-negotiable when it comes to cosmetic issues. If you're one of those people, acupuncture is a holistic way to help you stop hair loss and really get your confidence back!
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