Recently I’ve had more people ask me about acupuncture, so I thought I’d take some time to write about it. More people are turning to acupuncture as a safe, non-addictive form of pain management.
Acupuncture is a therapy of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The art of acupuncture became popular and flourished around 14th and 16th centuries during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). In Chinese Medicine, our body has meridians, which correlate with specific organ systems throughout our body. Think of meridians similar to our blood vessels, in that they are highways that run throughout our body that carry information. In acupuncture we stimulate specific points along the meridians to help stimulate the body’s repairing process.
Acupuncture can be used to address all sorts of conditions. Pain is the most common reason people come in for acupuncture but it's also good for sleep issues, stress management, digestive issues, infertility, and anti-aging treatments.
Acupuncture works with the body’s natural immune response. We are stimulating the body’s nervous system to relax and that allows the blood to flow to all the areas that need it. Our blood carries nutrients, immune cells, and natural pain killers all over the body. People are seeking out alternatives to pain and acupuncture has been proven in several studies to alleviate pain, so now it is being used as a first resort, rather than a last resort.
Think of a wreck on the interstate, and what the traffic looks like, when they have to block one of the lanes, there is a lot of congestion and very little movement. By using acupuncture to stimulate the meridians, we can open up those channels and allow the movement of our body’s natural resources to address the pain.
Of course, using acupuncture is just another tool in our toolbox to help address pain. Since pain is our main topic, I can’t go without saying, that we have to address the root cause of the pain. Pain is the body’s way of alerting you that something is wrong. We aren’t just addressing the symptom of pain, we are trying to correct the problem.
People always wants to know if acupuncture hurts. We do use sterile single use needles, but the size of the needles is thinner than a cat’s whisker, so most people don’t feel the insertion of the needle, or if they do it is a brief sensation. To help put it in perspective, I can insert 4 acupuncture needles into a 22-gauge needle (which is the size that most places use to give flu shots).
Everyone’s experience with acupuncture is a bit different, and the number of visits one may need to address their issue is very individualized, but on average it takes 10 sessions, before you are completely rid of your symptoms. When we use acupuncture as a therapy to support the body, we are trying to stimulate the body’s repairing process, so often we have to also add other factors into the mix. This is often not an independent therapy, but a fantastic adjunct therapy to lifestyle, nutrition, and supplementation.
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