Acupuncture and massage are popular wellness and relaxation treatments.
Both are low-risk and medication-free ways to effectively reduce stress and calm anxiety. Additionally, they can relieve chronic pain, improve blood circulation, and help you sleep better.
While acupuncture and massage have similar benefits, each treatment is very different. Which is best for you? Read our guide to decide.
What is acupuncture
Acupuncture has been tried and tested by millions over many hundreds of years. Originating in ancient China, this treatment aims to rebalance Qi using fine needles to stimulate nerves and muscles. When your body feels pressure or pain, the flow of Qi in your body is disrupted. Acupuncture restores this flow of energy which can help improve any physical soreness or mental stress you’re feeling.
What is massage
There are many types of popular massages widely available, including Swedish massage, hot stone massage, sports massage, Thai massage and deep tissue massage. They are all different but what they have in common is the process of pressure being applied to areas across the body to release muscle tension and improve circulation. The duration, technique and focus areas of the body will depend on the type of massage you choose. While many massages involve skin exposure, there are also massages that you can remain fully clothed for, if you’d prefer.
The benefits of acupuncture
There are many benefits of acupuncture including relieving chronic pain, improving sleep quality and reducing stress and anxiety.
Relieves chronic pain
Acupuncture can target pain and discomfort almost anywhere on the body, from the trigger points in your back and neck all the way to your feet and head!
Improves sleep quality
Acupuncture helps your muscles relax so you can unwind and get to sleep easier.
Reduces anxiety and stress
Improving chronic pain and sleep quality will do wonders for your mental health. Plus acupuncture can also release endorphins to give you a happy boost.
The benefits of massage
Massage comes with many benefits, these are just a few: relieving back tension, improving circulation and reducing constipation.
Relieves back tension
Massage can help the many of us who suffer from back pain by improving mobility, posture, stiffness and pain.
Improves blood circulation
Massage increases blood circulation which can help your tight muscles heal quicker.
Improves constipation without medication
Massage allows the body to relax and your colon muscles to loosen, improving constipation without the need for medication.
Which has more benefits?
Both acupuncture and massage are safe, low-risk treatment options.
These treatments can help improve stress and anxiety by stimulating the muscles and central nervous system, encouraging the body to release endorphins which make us feel good. They also offer you time to relax and switch off from the pressures of life.
Additionally, massage and acupuncture increase blood circulation which can help reduce pain in tight muscles. If you struggle with chronic pain or want to improve muscle soreness after a heavy workout, both acupuncture and massage can help.
You might also experience improved sleep quality after a massage or acupuncture. By releasing toxins and reducing pain and stress your body is more relaxed and able to rest. This can also help decrease the after-lunch fatigue many of us feel during the working day.
The differences between acupuncture and massage
Both acupuncture and massage are beneficial treatments that can result in similar benefits.
However, they do typically treat two different types of pain. Acupuncture is often used to treat nerve pain while massage typically focuses on treating muscle pain.
However, it also comes down to how comfortable you are with each treatment option. You should always think about your personal preferences when choosing a treatment plan.
If you’re afraid of needles, acupuncture definitely won’t be for you! However, you’ll benefit from increased motion and decreased muscle tightness if you can get past this.
A massage may feel too intense if you’re uncomfortable with physical touch. Although Shiatsu massage could be a great option if you’d like to experience a less invasive fully clothed treatment.
So which is best – acupuncture or massage?
Ultimately, it comes down to which you’d prefer. And if you’d like, you can even combine both treatments in your health and well-being plan!
If you’re unsure what the best option for you is, speak to a licensed practitioner or massage therapist – they’ll be best placed to advise a tailored treatment plan for your specific needs.