The human body has an amazing capacity for healing, yet our modern lifestyle often makes it difficult for many people to tap that potential. Acupuncture an ancient practice rooted in the ancestral science of Chinese medicine, helps promote that natural healing potential. By balancing the body, mind and spirit and restoring overall energy balance, acupuncture can help people embrace optimal wellness without medication or invasive medical procedures.
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a procedure that uses tiny needles inserted into the skin to help balance a person’s energy. The needles are inserted at specific locations along the patient’s body that align with energy points. This triggers the body’s natural healing capabilities, helping restore balance to both the mind and body.
The Philosophy Behind Acupuncture
Traditional acupuncture works on the belief that the body is controlled by an energy flow, known as qi (pronounced “chee”), that travels through pathways called meridians. Acupuncturists believe that problems or blockages with the flow of energy along these meridians is responsible for many ailments. Toxins, stress, trauma, hormones and even the foods we eat can all contribute to blocking qi.
While some practitioners still follow the traditional philosophy of qi, others have also started incorporating a more integrative approach, supported by research and western medicine principles. For example, many of today’s acupuncturists view the acupuncture points as places that stimulate nerves, invigorating the body’s natural pain fighting and healing processes.
Common Ailments Treated with Acupuncture
One of the main focus of acupuncture treatment is the reduction of pain and improvement of overall health. It may be used to reduce pain after surgery or medical and dental treatments. Patients with chronic headaches and migraines can also greatly benefit from acupuncture treatment, and it is commonly used for muscle and back pain, stress relief and overall wellness. Patients with neurological conditions also report relief after acupuncture treatments.
Acupuncture can also help support better immune and nervous system function. This, in turn, promotes improved overall wellness and helps the body heal itself naturally when illness or injury occurs.
The History of Acupuncture
It is believed that acupuncture originated in China in 6,000 BC. In its earliest days, acupuncture treatment was performed using sharp bones. As early as 198 BC, ancient Chinese documents that talked about meridians and qi were found. These early practitioners theorized that balance and health came from qi, and when it was out of balance, the body struggled with illness.
Acupuncture procedures were first documented inThe Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine,a book that was published around 100 BC. Over the next few centuries, precise acupuncture points were developed, and the procedure became mainstream in China. During the Ming dynasty of the 14ththrough 16thcentury, the acupuncture points were officially recorded.
The practice fell out of favor in China in the 18th and 19th centuries as Western medicine took over, and in 1929 it was outlawed in China. Yet over those years it spread to other Asian countries, particularly in Japan. It then experienced a revival in 1949 under Communist China, and soon the knowledge began to spread again. In 1971 a member of the US press corps was treated with acupuncture in China, and he described his treatment to the New York Times. American interest in the practice began to grow, and today people across the country benefit from acupuncture treatment.
14 Health Benefits of Acupuncture
If you are considering acupuncture for the first time, you may feel curious about these techniques. Here are some of the health benefits you may enjoy if you receive an acupuncture treatment:
1. Reduced Stress
One of the primary reasons people seek acupuncture treatment is to reduce their stress levels. Restoring energy balance and triggering nervous system responses is a key factor in lowering the body’s stress reaction. According to Healthline, research has found thatacupuncture lowers stress hormone levelsand improves mood to help reduce feelings of anxiety and increase feelings of happiness.
2. Reduced Back and Joint Pain
Pain relief is one of the topbenefits of acupuncture. The technique can reduce tension in the back and neck and alleviate pain in the joints. This is a drug-free way to address common pain complaints. It can also reduce inflammation in these affected areas.
3. Headache Relief
Patients struggling with chronic headaches and migraines who do not want to have prescription medications as part of their treatment protocol may find relief with acupuncture treatments. Several studies reported in the National Institutes of Health found thatacupuncture treatment was effective in reducing both the frequency and severity of headaches among chronic sufferers. It may also be more effective than pain-reducing medications in treating tension headaches.
4. Improved Eye Health
Eye strain is a common complaint in the modern world with its heavy reliance on computer and phone screens. Acupuncture reduces eye strain and can also help improve vision for people dealing with problems like night blindness or lazy eyes.
5. Enhanced Mental Clarity
Brain fog occurs when stress and other concerns rob an individual of mental clarity, making it difficult to think well. Acupuncture treatment can enhance mental clarity and reduce the risk of problems with brain fog.
6. Reduce Symptoms of Neurological Disorders
Neurological disease, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, can have a huge impact on a patient’s life. Acupuncture is an alternative medicine option to help treat these diseases. Clinical studies have shownimprovement in language and motor functionof patients with many neurological diseases and conditions who seek acupuncture treatment.
7. Reduce an Individual’s Risk of Falling Ill
Patients who routinely have acupuncture treatment enjoy a reduced risk of getting sick because the treatment supports the body’s natural immune system responses. When the individual is exposed to a virus or bacterium, the body is better able to fight it off, and the person is less likely to fall ill.
8. Fewer Digestive Problems
Constipation, heartburn, and irritable bowel syndrome are common digestive problems for the modern individual. When your digestive system isn’t working as it should, your overall health and wellness is damaged. Acupuncture treatment helps regulate digestive health and bring relief from these common ailments.
9. Increased Energy
After acupuncture treatment, patients may experience a surge in energy levels. This can help people feel more productive atworkand home.
10. Better Sleep
When the body’s energy is in balance and the nervous system is properly stimulated, many people have better abilities to fall asleep at night. Acupuncture has shown inscientific trialsto benefit people struggling with insomnia, and some results found that acupuncture actually had a greater benefit for patients than sleep medications.
11. Relief from Allergies
Allergy sufferers can use acupuncture to strengthener their immune response before the start of allergy season. Sometimes when used in conjunction with allergy medications, acupuncture can help reduce the symptoms of allergies once an attack begins.
12. Controlling Blood Pressure
Rising blood pressure levels are a problem in modern society, especially with high-stress jobs and overall obesity levels on the rise. Regular acupuncture treatment combined with medical treatment for the cardiovascular system can help reduce blood pressure levels. The practice helps support proper heart function and blood flow, and at times it is more effective than medication at controlling blood pressure.
13. Enhancing Fertility
Couples who are trying to conceive a child may have faster results with acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture can actually optimize the production of reproductive hormones, and subsequent treatments can support a healthy pregnancy once a woman conceives.
14. Improved Healing After Medical Procedures
Acupuncture can assist people who have had surgery or undergone cancer treatments heal more quickly after their procedures. The immune system and wellness support achieved through acupuncture triggers the body’s natural healing abilities to speed healing.
Acupuncture: A Safe Alternative to Modern Medicine
Acupuncture, when performed by a licensed acupuncturist in a controlled clinical setting, offers numerous benefits. In many cases, it delivers the same or better results than modern medicine without the risks and sideeffects.
If the study of acupuncture fascinates you, consider a career in this field. Pacific College of Health and Science offers a comprehensive acupuncture program that will teach you everything you need to know about starting a practice.If you are interested in learning more about theSan Diegoacupuncture program,New Yorkacupuncture program, orChicagoacupuncture program offered at Pacific College of Health and Science, visitadmissionsorcontact ustoday.
Acupuncture points are believed to stimulate the central nervous system. This, in turn, releases chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These biochemical changes may stimulate the body's natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being.How long does it take to feel the benefits of acupuncture? ›
You may not get the full benefits of acupuncture on the first or second treatment. If you decide to try acupuncture, you should give it at least five treatments.Is acupuncture good for the mind? ›
Acupuncture can benefit individuals living with high levels of stress and anxiety disorders. The stress-relieving elements of acupuncture help to also improve emotional regulation, overall mood, and boost overall feelings of wellbeing.Does acupuncture give long-term benefits? ›
Some of the key long-term benefits of acupuncture include pain relief and pain management, improvements to mental health, improvements to sleep quality and, for some, a reduction in the reliance on western medication.What happens after acupuncture? ›
What to Expect After Treatment: In general, people tend to feel relaxed after an acupuncture treatment. And the days following might even mean better sleep, digestion, and an overall sense of well-being. But some patients report having a deeper, more intense effect in the days following a session.How long is acupuncture treatment? ›
An initial acupuncture session usually lasts 20 minutes to 1 hour and involves an assessment of your general health, medical history and a physical examination, followed by insertion of the acupuncture needles. Courses of treatment often involve several separate sessions, but this can vary.What should you not do after acupuncture? ›
So, what should clients avoid after acupuncture? Clients should avoid strenuous exercise, caffeine, junk food, alcohol, cold temperatures, digital screens, and, where possible, stressful situations.What should you not do before acupuncture? ›
Avoid Caffeine Before Your Appointment
Do not drink coffee for at least two hours before your acupuncture treatment. Because it is a stimulant, coffee increases your body's fight-or-flight response, something which acupuncture seeks to lessen. Visit our website to schedule an acupuncture treatment today.
Research Highlights. Acupuncture modulates brain activity at the limbic–paralimbic–neocortical network (LPNN) and the default mode network (DMN). Deactivation at the LPNN/DMN during needle manipulation of acupuncture was more extensive in females than in males.How does acupuncture affect mental health? ›
Acupuncture is beneficial for depression because of its ability to regulate energy flow throughout the body, and its ability to stimulate the production of endorphins, which are essential for mental health and wellbeing. Endorphins are “feel good” chemicals released in the brain.
Some people feel relaxed and others feel energized after an acupuncture treatment. But not everyone responds to acupuncture. If your symptoms don't begin to improve within a few weeks, acupuncture may not be right for you.Does acupuncture help with anxiety? ›
"Acupuncture stimulates the body's natural feel-good hormones and reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol," says Mathew Kulas, MA, RAc, an acupuncturist at Henry Ford Health. Studies show that acupuncture is an effective treatment for anxiety, with fewer side effects than medications.How often should you get acupuncture? ›
It's recommended that clients should start by having 1-2 acupuncture sessions per week, for 2-4 weeks. However, clients with chronic conditions may require more frequent treatment. Whilst 1-2 sessions per week is a good baseline, it's important to assess your client's condition before beginning treatment.Is acupuncture once a week enough? ›
According to Dr. Shari Auth, a cofounder of the studio, acupuncture is great for both averting and treating pain. “We want to see patients once a month, ideally once a week.Why do I feel sad after acupuncture? ›
Since acupuncture works by addressing the root cause of a condition, the process can cause repressed emotions to surface. You may be quicker to cry or notice yourself feeling more sentimental than usual. In general, emotions—good or bad—are felt more intensely. This is a good thing.What happens if acupuncture hits a nerve? ›
If a needle hits a small nerve, muscle, or blood vessel, you may feel some pain or a more intense sensation. A single sensation is OK as long as it's brief. Points on the extremities are more likely to produce stronger reactions in the form of dull aches or tingling sensations.Why do I feel weird after acupuncture? ›
Occasionally, patients will feel muscle twitches or a “fluttery” sensation at or around area where the acupuncturist inserted needles. These involuntary muscular twitching can also sometimes occur in areas far from the needling site. Like feelings of soreness, these sensations are a result of circulating QI energy.What is the downside of acupuncture? ›
Possible risks of acupuncture are the following: Bleeding, bruising, and soreness may occur at the insertion sites. Unsterilized needles may lead to infection. In rare cases, a needle may break and damage an internal organ.How often should you have acupuncture? ›
It's recommended that clients should start by having 1-2 acupuncture sessions per week, for 2-4 weeks. However, clients with chronic conditions may require more frequent treatment. Whilst 1-2 sessions per week is a good baseline, it's important to assess your client's condition before beginning treatment.What should you not do after acupuncture? ›
So, what should clients avoid after acupuncture? Clients should avoid strenuous exercise, caffeine, junk food, alcohol, cold temperatures, digital screens, and, where possible, stressful situations.
Sometimes following acupuncture, some feel worse before they start feeling better. People can feel tired after acupuncture. A more common result is increased energy. The fatigue after acupuncture is your body telling you that it's depleted.