The Health and Wellbeing Benefits of Acupuncture

From pain management to stress reduction, the positive health benefits of acupuncture are rapidly being recognized by the medical community and the public. Extensive research has shown that patients can experience not only physical relief, but also an improved state of mind and a more balanced emotional state after acupuncture sessions.

In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes acupuncture as an effective treatment for more than 43 conditions under nine major health categories, including, but not limited to:

  • Depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Allergies and respiratory problems like asthma

  • Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia

  • Tennis elbow, sprains, and injury related pain

  • Hypertension and hypotension

  • Knee, low back, and neck pain, as well as sciatica

  • Dysmenorrhea

  • Headache and migraine

  • Nausea, vomiting, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and morning sickness

  • Postoperative pain, facial pain, and dental pain

So, if you have been hoping to enhance your health this year, finding a highly trained acupuncturist with a degree from an accredited university could be just what you need to get the relief you’ve been waiting for—without the use of pharmaceuticals or invasive procedures. ( source

A Brief intro...

Acupuncture is one of the oldest Traditional Chinese Medical techniques and is commonly used as a complementary and alternative medical treatment. In this technique, practitioners stimulate specific points on the body usually by inserting thin needles through the skin. Having been in practice for the last 5000 years, acupuncture was earlier used to relieve pain and as an anesthetic in surgeries. It was also used as a form of treatment for curing and preventing diseases in order to provide people with a long and healthy life.

There are as many as 2000 acupuncture points on the human body that are connected by 12 main meridians. Scientifically, the working behind acupuncture is still unclear. However, one line of belief suggests that it works by balancing vital energy, while the other school of thought believes it has a neurological effect.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture, an invasive therapy, is believed to restore the normal flow of energy (Qi), hence restoring the mind and body health. Based on neuroscientific studies, the acupuncture points (acupoints) are places where nerves, muscles, and connective tissue can be stimulated to increase blood flow and trigger the activity of the body’s immune system.

The needles used are solid and hair-thin. They are generally inserted no more than half-inch to an inch deep into the skin, depending on the type of treatment. The session takes 30-60 minutes depending on the condition. Electro Puncture, which is a modification of acupuncture, uses needles to which electrical current is applied to treat neuromuscular disorders.

Effect of Acupuncture on the body

The Acupuncture points are believed to stimulate the central nervous system which results in the release of chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These biochemical changes stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being.

It may seem like the needles being poked at various points may cause pain. However, that is not the case. The needles used in acupuncture are as thin as hair and cause minimal pain. They are inserted to a point that it causes a sensation of pressure or ache ultimately resulting in the person feeling energized and even relaxed.

Types of Acupuncture

The acupuncture points may not always be stimulated with the help of needles. There are other techniques to stimulate these points, such as:

  • Moxibustion – A form of heat therapy in which dried plant materials called ’moxa’ are burned on or near the surface of the skin at the acupuncture points.

  • Acupressure – Using fingers to stimulate pressure points on the body.

  • Cupping – Using vacuum-filled cupping instruments to suction the pressure points with stimulate it.

  • Electro puncture – Applying electric current to the acupuncture needles and stimulating the pressure points.

Benefits of Acupuncture

Some of the benefits of acupuncture therapy are:

  • Chronic pain relief.

  • Relieves headaches and migraines.

  • Lower back pain relief.

  • Stress management.

  • Weight loss.

  • Smoking cessation.

  • Asthma.

  • High Blood Pressure.

  • Osteoarthritis and knee pain relief.

  • Helps treat Carpal tunnel syndrome.

Risks associated with Acupuncture

Acupuncture therapy, although having very few side effects, have a few risks associated with its use, such as:

  • It is not recommended for people with bleeding disorders or who take blood thinners.

  • The insertion sites may get bruised, may bleed, and be sore.

  • Infection due to unsterilized needles. Sterilizing the needles in boiling water is essential.

  • Damage of internal organs due to needle breakage.

  • A risk of collapsed lung if the needle is inserted deeply into the chest or upper back.

  • Side effects may be fainting, vomiting, and cardiac arrest.

End note

Acupuncture therapy being an invasive technique, it is highly recommended to get it performed only by a trained professional in order to eliminate maximum risks. Make sure to consult your physician and a trained acupuncturist regarding the best treatment approach for you. If performed correctly, acupuncture is a very effective complementary technique for pain relief and better health.

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