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Acupuncture for Dizziness
By: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM

The meaning and use of the word dizzy can vary from person to person. The dictionary definition is: "when a person experiences the sensation of spinning and losing one's balance." However, some people may use the word "dizzy" to describe other unpleasant sensations such as disorientation, fatigue, confusion, anxiety or just feeling "funny."


Dizziness can be an inconsequential, temporary experience, or it can indicate a serious medical problem that requires treatment. It is important when speaking with your practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine to accurately describe your experience with dizziness to help ensure a proper diagnosis.

The severity, duration, and timing of the dizzy spell are all important pieces of information as well. For example, motion sickness may produce severe symptoms at the time, such as vomiting and pain, but they usually pass when the offending motion stops.

The following is a list of medical conditions and other factors that can result in dizziness:

  • Infection or injury of the inner ear
  • Certain neurological conditions such as Parkinson's or Multiple Sclerosis
  • Adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs
  • Anxiety
  • Anemia
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Overheating
  • Dehydration
  • Blood circulation problems
  • Migraines
  • Meniere's disease
  • Large amounts of caffeine

A practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine observes the health of an individual in much the same way as one would observe natural phenomenon in the outside world. For example, imagine a blazing hot summer's day, the kind when it's easy for tempers to flare, and normally friendly neighbors take to arguing. One neighbor yells and gets so angry he sees red, as his face takes on the hue of a ripe tomato. The extreme heat in the outside world mirrors the extreme heat in the internal environment of our unfortunate neighbor in this case.

Now, if this particular neighbor suddenly experienced an acute dizzy spell during this outburst, it would not be surprising for a practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine to discover an imbalance within the liver. Liver Qi follows the same law of physics that heat does--insofar as they both naturally rise. Although the concept of Qi is complicated, it is often simply translated as energy. A sharp rise in liver Qi can provoke bouts of dizziness, especially when a person experiences strong feelings of anger. And conversely, intense frustration or anger can be the trigger for a spike in liver Qi.

However, one does not have to be angry or emotional to have bouts of dizziness. The listless neighbor, the one who is obese and pale, may feel dizzy for very different reasons than our angry neighbor. When there is a general deficiency of Qi in the body, certain functions become more difficult, such as breathing or physical activity. A Qi deficient patient is at risk for dizziness, since their energy struggles to keep up with the demands of the body and mind.

These distinctions are very important when it comes to receiving a proper diagnosis and treatment from a practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine. The angry neighbor would likely receive an acupuncture treatment to help sedate and calm the excessive rising of the liver Qi. The listless neighbor, on the other hand, requires a strengthening of Qi. The focus of treatment in this case would be to insert acupuncture needles at points on the body that help revitalize and increase the levels of energy.

If you find yourself troubled by bouts of dizziness, it may be time to make an appointment with your practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine to discover and treat the underlying issue. If you experience severe dizziness or vertigo, accompanied by intense chest pain or headache, continuous vomiting, or an overwhelming sense of anxiety, then immediately seek emergency medical attention.

Find an Acupuncturist near you to learn how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you!

About the Author: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM, studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and practiced acupuncture and Oriental medicine in New York for several years. Vanessa enjoys traveling the world, and has published articles on acupuncture and Oriental medicine and related health topics for websites and publications in both the U.S. and abroad.