Acupuncture is an age old healing modality, which is based off of how the internal organs work with relation to each other and to the rest of the body. There is no separation from the internal organs to the external bones and skin, so when manipulation is done on the outside, things are changed on the inside. Due to this, acupuncture can affect any part of the body internally and externally. No matter what you’re looking for to be treated, an acupuncture treatment will automatically induce a change, small or big. The following is a list of the benefits of acupuncture.
1. Improves Digestion-
There are 14 meridians that make up the body, they intertwine each other like a spider-web, and their pathways go deep inside and can be manipulated by pressure on the outside. Two of these meridians are directly connected to the Spleen and Stomach, these two organs help breakdown food, turn it into energy and transport it all over the body. When one of these organs is weak, there is an imbalance in the system, which can weaken all the other organs in the body. Weakness in the Stomach and Spleen can lead to symptoms like acid reflux, slow digestion, loose stools, poor appetite, bloating, burping and fatigue. A healthy diet is the first thing to check when it comes to anything medical, but acupuncture is a good a runner up. Through diagnosis an acupuncturist can locate the proper points, on the corresponding meridians and manipulate with acupuncture needles to effectively strengthen and induce balance back into the system. Acupuncture works for all issues not just digestive ones, but in any case depending on how well you take care of yourself one or a few acupuncture treatments can help strengthen your digestion.
2. Immune Boost-
The immune system is a defensive mechanism that allows certain cells in the body to find, keep out or destroy invading organisms that can cause sickness. The immune system can be considered part of the digestive system in conjunction with the respiratory system. In other words, the Spleen, Stomach and Lungs are the main organs that maintain the immune system. The Spleen and Stomach is a working pair of organs that help each other breakdown food and transport that broken down energy into the rest of the body. Maintaining a healthy immune system is greatly dependent on your diet. A proper healthy diet is good fuel that keeps the body strong and able to fight of foreign organisms. The lungs control the external defensive system; they control the pores of the skin, what you breathe in through your nose and mouth. It is important to keep the lungs free of smoke so they can do their job of prevention. Although, when the digestive system is weak, it will cause a domino effect creating weakness in other organs including the lungs. Acupuncture can both strengthen the digestive and respiratory system through manipulating and balancing the spleen, stomach and lung meridians.
How can being stuck with needles be relaxing? Science cannot yet prove why or how acupuncture works. However, we do know that when the needles are inserted into the body the Central Nervous System is stimulated, including the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands. This stimulation releases endorphins and/or endogenous opioids, which produce an analgesic effect for relieving pain. Along with an analgesic effect, hormones are also secreted, which have been shown to have a balancing effect on parasympathetic and sympathetic systems. In addition to pain relief, acupuncture has been shown to have other health benefits including regulating blood pressure and body temperature. Similar things also happen when you go to sleep, that’s why taking a nap is better then a cup of coffee. So acupuncture can be relaxing because it turns on or boosts the body’s healing system, which makes you tired. So in general after a typical acupuncture treatment you’ll have more energy then you did before, just like taking a nap.
4. Helps Detoxification-
The human body is in a constant state of flux, every second that goes by 25 million new cells are created and destroyed. The body is always cleaning itself and does its best to go towards a state of optimal health. Although, our lifestyle choices may prohibit that from always happening, acupuncture has the ability to speed up the natural healing processes of the body. Through proper diagnosis, an acupuncturist can choose the right points along the body to help the body clean itself, along with adjunctive therapies like cupping. Cupping is a very old method that stimulates the body by creating a strong suction on the skin with glass cups, which open up muscle tissue to improve blood circulation into, tight or stagnate areas. Cupping is well known for its ability to help people get over colds by it strong method of moving blood and opening up the pores. Blood has many necessary functions, which include bringing oxygen to where it’s needed and removing waste to restore health. Cupping and acupuncture combined are a great way to invigorate the body to remove unwanted waste.
5. Helps Alleviate Pain-
Acupuncture stimulates the Central Nervous System of the body, which in turn releases endogenous opioids, these opioids are like drugs that the body makes to cope with pain. When released they create an analgesic effect to relieve the pain. Acupuncture also stimulates blood and other energies to move in order to help the healing processes. Creating a quicker recovery time from injury and creates less of need for high doses of pain relieving medications.
6. Improve Allergies-
Allergy symptoms are associated with the respiratory and the immune system. Depending on the actual symptoms like sneezing, headache, itchy nose and eyes, an acupuncturist may formulate differing diagnoses. In general acupuncture can be used to boost the respiratory system to strengthen the body’s defensive system in order to prevent allergens from invading the body. Symptoms like itchy eyes or headaches signify some sort of blockage in the body. This blockage restricts a free flow of energy to take place allowing the lungs/respiratory system to be weak. Through diagnosis an acupuncturist can locate these blockages in the body and remove them with needle manipulation. When energy can move freely within the body foreign invaders have a more difficult time entering the body causing an allergic reaction.
7. Helps reduce cravings-
There are many theories as to why we have cravings; from food to drugs the list of cravings can be long. One perspective to take on the subject is that of imbalance. Each organ system is associated with certain emotions and food flavors: the kidneys are associated with fear and salt, the spleen with worry and sweets, the heart with joy and bitter, the liver with anger and sour and the lungs with grief and pungent. Be it food or not, when an organ system is weak a certain emotion may be over whelming and or a flavor may be craved. Fulfilling these cravings by either eating or by some other means is a way of trying to overcome this imbalance. Although, it is usually just a temporary fix and may lead to other health concerns. Through proper diagnosis and discussion an acupuncturist can determine, which organ or organ systems may be out of balance? With proper placement and stimulation of the needles, along with a proper diet change cravings can be over come over time.
8. 8. Help Reduce Side-Effects From Medications-
Today the public’s awareness of the side effects of certain medications is well known and unwanted. Although at times it is necessary for us to have to take a certain medication to help alleviate pain or over come some other issue. Acupuncture can help eliminate side effects and let the medication do what it was intended for. Medications for pain will most often affect the digestive system and can cause constipation. Acupuncture can be used to restore balance to the organs that are associated with digestion and bowel movements, while leaving the medication to cause the pain relief it was intended for. There are many medications that are prescribed on a daily basis and all with their own list of side effects. Acupuncture can be effectively used to fend of those unwanted side effects as well reduce the recommended medication dosages over time. Do to its track record of helping with side effects Acupuncture is growing in its recognition as a complimentary medicine to western traditional medicines.
9. Release of Muscle Tension-
Got a stiff neck or shoulders, or maybe had a long day just standing on your feet and now you have a small case of plantar fasciitis? In any case, rest with heat and ice may offer some relief, but it may not do the trick. Acupuncture is a great way for moving these areas of stagnation like knots that feel tight and uncomfortable. You can think of the human body, as a miniature planet with its own rivers and streams, when these rivers are damned up there is stagnation and pain. Acupuncture needles placed in specific points along the body can strengthen the rivers to push through and break up the damn causing relief. Depending on the painful condition, how chronic the issue is, where it is, and how well you take care of yourself it may take one or multiple acupuncture treatments to take care of it.
10 Improve Emotional Conditions-
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) recognizes that the body and mind are one and the same. Like a bond, chronic physical issues can lead to emotional issues and vice versa. Each organ system is attributed its own emotion and each organ is intimately tied to each other organ. When there is a weakness or imbalance in one organ it can lead to depression, anger or a variety of other emotional issues. Through proper diagnosis an acupuncturist can decipher, which organ system or systems is out of balance. Just like treating a physical pain issue the emotional aspects of the body can be put back on track. Although emotions are on a deeper level then the physical body it may take multiple acupuncture treatments to help relieve severe emotional issues and a bit more work on the patients part.
I hope these ten benefits have been helpful in showing you what acupuncture can do. With the changing season upon us I recommend going out and finding a local acupuncturist to help keep your body and mind in tip top condition. If you have any questions or comments please let me know! Thank you!