Acupuncture: How it Works and What it Can do for You
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture is the use of hair-thin, sterilized needles inserted into acupuncture points around the body to affect the body’s energy flow and circulation.
Studies have shown that acupuncture may increase the release of endorphins (the body’s natural pain killers), thereby supporting the mainstream use of acupuncture for the treatment of pain and pain conditions without the use of drugs or surgery.
Often times, patients will feels a sense of euphoria and overall calm and wellbeing following an acupuncture treatment due to the additional affect acupuncture has on increasing serotonin, the “feel-good” hormone that allows one to feel rested, relaxed, and happy, making Acupuncture a natural treatment for stress, depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
Acupuncture also helps to manage inflammatory conditions and areas of inflammation by increasing local circulation in areas where circulation may be diminished (e.g. diabetic neuropathy in the feet) or where circulation is blocked due to injury, scar tissue or muscle tension (e.g. a sprained ankle).
Acupuncture has also been demonstrated to be an effective immune-modulator-helping to support the immune system in those who are immune-compromised by stimulating natural killer cells, and also in those with over-reactive immune responses such as those who suffer from allergic conditions like hayfever, asthma, and hives.
What are the conditions Acupuncture is used for?
The WHO (World Health Organization) has recognized Acupuncture to be effective for over 50 different conditions. The most common and effectively treated with Acupuncture are:
- headaches and migraines
- depression and anxiety
- muscle tension
- digestive issues (constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- painful menses (dysmenorrhea)
- irregular menses
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- nausea and vomiting (e.g. in pregnancy or chemotherapy)
What should I expect during an Acupuncture treatment?
A traditionally trained practitioner will often look at your tongue and feel your pulses as part of the diagnosis. Your tongue and pulse may indicate where in the body there is imbalance and assist your practitioner in obtaining a more comprehensive overview of the patient’s constitution and areas of imbalance.
The patient usually lays down while the practitioner inserts 10-20 fine acupuncture needles into the different acupuncture points needed to re-establish balance in the flow of Qi (energy) and Blood. Patients are usually surprised at how painless Acupuncture may be and are often fascinated by the euphoric sensation Acupuncture can induce during and after a treatment.
Does it hurt?
No. Acupuncture performed by a trained practitioner should be quite painless and surprisingly relaxing! Technology has helped bring Acupuncture to the masses by quelling the fear of needles by using filiform, ultra-fine needles that are often coated for even more comfortable insertion. Once inserted, the patient may feel a comfortable sensation of warmth, pressure, or movement in the area and often relief of acute symptoms that they were experiencing prior to the treatment (e.g. headaches often dissipate during a treatment).