Lipomas are benign fatty lumps that typically grow between your skin and the muscles of your head, neck, shoulders and back, although they can grow anywhere on your body. While lipomas often cause no troublesome symptoms, you may choose to have your lipoma surgically removed if it causes pain, begins to grow, or interferes with the movement of nearby muscles. Acupuncture treatments may also provide some relief for lipoma symptoms.
Lipomas are masses of fat cells that grow together, forming a lump under your skin. Lipomas are usually small -- less than 2 inches in diameter -- and feel doughy or spongy to the touch. The exact cause of lipomas is not completely understood, although they are thought to develop due to a genetic predisposition, notes MayoClinic.com. Practitioners of acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medical treatment, believe that lipomas occur in part due to a stagnation in your body's flow of qi - also referred to as "life force energy." You may experience pain if the lipoma is located near nerves or contains numerous blood vessels; however, most people experience little or no troublesome symptoms. Pain or cosmetic factors are the most common reasons for surgical removal.
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How Acupuncture Works
Acupuncture has been used in Chinese medicine to treat a variety of physical and mental symptoms for thousands of years. Acupuncture treatments involve the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on your body located along energy pathways known as meridians. Illness and dysfunction are believed to occur when the flow of energy through your meridians becomes blocked. According to the Longevity Center of Classical Chinese Medicine, acupuncture stimulates the release endorphins, your body's natural pain-killing chemicals, strengthens your immune system and helps balance qi, restoring the flow of energy through your meridians.
Acupuncture for Lipomas
There's no real scientific evidence indicating that acupuncture can reduce the symptoms or size of a lipoma. Acupuncture treatments for lipomas may involve inserting needles around the lipoma or stimulation of the acupuncture point located along the spleen and liver meridians. The spleen and liver are common area of stagnating qi or energy congestion. This congestion can manifest as lipomas on your skin or cause other skin disorders as well as additional symptoms like fatigue, depression or anxiety. As such, acupuncture may help open energy blockages and help alleviate lipoma-related symptoms of pain or discomfort.
While acupuncture may provide some benefit for lipomas, you should not rely on acupuncture or any form of alternative medicine to self-treat your condition. Do not attempt to self-diagnose lipomas. A lipoma can resemble certain types of malignant or benign tumors. You should consult your doctor as soon as possible if you develop any swelling or lump on your body.