Dizziness is a symptom of something not-quite-right. Dizziness can result in loss of balance, feeling faint or lightheaded, a feeling of being in motion (vertigo), a spinning inside the head, and may include nausea (with or without vomiting), a clammy feeling, or pale skin.
Clearly Defined Symptoms
Dizziness may have a physical cause with clear symptoms, such as feeling like fainting or loss of balance (disequilibrium), as well as measurable signs:
- A drop in blood pressure (orthostatic hypotension)
- Inadequate output of blood from the heart
- Inner ear (vestibular) problems
- Sensory disorders, resulting in difficulty maintaining balance
- Joint and muscle problems contributing to loss of balance
- Neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease and cerebellar ataxia
Less Clearly Defined Symptoms
Dizziness may be psychological; panic attacks (agoraphobia), for instance, often result in dizziness.
Vertigo usually occurs when the ear and its inner nerves are not functioning properly, causing the brain to inaccurately receive and interpret motion signals. Common causes are:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), vertigo following a change in the position of the head
- Inflammation in the inner ear
- Meniere’s disease
- Vestibular migraine
- Acoustic neuroma
These lists are not exhaustive. It would be advisable for a sufferer from dizziness or vertigo to consult a medical practitioner to first rule out any serious condition as the cause.
Western medicine typically addresses the symptom called “dizziness”. Positioning of the head (canalith repositioning, moving the otoconia to a part of the ear where they won’t cause dizziness) is the usual treatment for BPPV but symptoms may return. Balance retraining exercises and medications such as meclizine (Antivert), diazepam (Valium) or dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) may be prescribed to control symptoms. Diet modification, stress management, psychotherapy and exercise may be helpful. Symptom treatments rarely produce a permanent solution.
Acupuncture For Dizziness
The body’s systems and chemical/hormone states constantly fluctuate and influence one another. When an external event causes these systems and chemical/hormone states to move far beyond normal levels, dizziness or vertigo may occur. Acupuncture, a systemic treatment, addresses such imbalances by promoting healing at multiple levels, including blood pressure, heart rate, hormones, endorphins, and sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. When imbalances are resolved symptoms disappear so long as there is no repetition of the external event.
A Recent Study Reveals How Acupuncture Works to Treat Dizziness
In a 2011 Korean study, a specific acupuncture point known to treat disorders such as dizziness, hypertension, hypotension, headaches, diminished vision, windstroke (cerebral vascular accident), and syncope (loss of consciousness) was stimulated. Blood flow showed increased velocity in the middle cerebral artery (MCA) and anterior cerebral artery (ACA), thus revealing how this single acupuncture point helps to simultaneously rebalance a number of the body’s systems.
Hyung-sik Byeon, Sang-kwan Moon, Seong-uk Park, Woo-sang Jung, Jung-mi Park, Chang-nam Ko, Ki-ho Cho, Young-suk Kim and Hyung-sup Bae. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. March 2011, 17(3): 219-224.