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Can acupuncture help hair loss?

You may find a number of American sites such as this one


Please click here 
 
which give some very clear and unequivocal advice about the treatment of hair loss. You may also have seen some of the high street shops with lurid photos of 'before' and 'after' treatment.
 
The reality is that there is very little research evidence to suggest that acupuncture can reverse hair loss if that is a stand-alone problem. This is becoming an increasing problem for men especially in modern times, and there are a number of theories, from stress to electro-magnetic radiation to increases in background hormone levels in drinking water, as to why this might be. However, there is no conclusive evidence for any of these, and no evidence that acupuncture can treat hair loss as a specific symptom.
 
However, hair loss can be associated with other conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndroe (PCOS) in women and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in both sexes, and if this is the case, there are approaches in both conventional and Chinese medicine which may prove beneficial. Clearly the Chinese medicine ones will be looking at the symptom in the context of other symptoms which someone may have, and also in the context of understanding the body as a system of energy, or 'qi', whose flow, rhythms and balance have been disturbed. There are a number of functional elements understood from this perspective which contribute to the health and quantity of the hair, as well as its 'vitality', and if a diagnosis can make sense of the hair loss within this wider context, then there is some sense that acupuncture treatment may help.
 
However, progress, even if good, is likely to be slow, and there are, sad to say, professionals (not BAcC members, we are pleased to note) who make the kinds of claims for hair growth and recovery which  we do not believe are underpinned by evidence, either research or anecdotal, so we recommend great caution.