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What Does Acupuncture Treat & How Does It Relieve Pain?

November 22, 2023

Acupuncture Q & A

What Is Acupuncture Treatment?

Acupuncture is a type of treatment that originated in China more than 3,000 years ago. Acupuncturists use extremely slim needles, placing them in key areas on the body to alleviate pain in a natural way. The needles create a balance in the body’s energy, which allows the body to return to its optimal pain-free state.

There are several types of acupuncture. In moxibustion, moxa taken from dried mugwort warms key areas and helps with smooth qi energy flow. In auricular acupuncture, points on the outer ear are stimulated for healing. In cupping therapy, suction is used to help stimulate blood flow and promote healing.

Acupuncture is more than just a new-age treatment - over 10 million Americans already reap its potent therapeutic effects each year. 

But why has this ancient Chinese medicine practice stood the test of time and gained widespread modern appeal.

The secret lies in the strategic placement of hair-thin needles just under the skin. Though it seems too good to be true, inserting needles along pressure points releases powerful self-healing responses.

Both elite athletes and prestigious health centers have embraced acupuncture because of its proven track record. And have backed its ability to safely and effectively treat common modern health struggles like chronic pain, nausea, anxiety, inflammation, and more - often better than drugs or surgery.
But some people are still skeptical.

In this article, we'll explore how and why acupuncture works, the conditions it can treat, and what to expect during customized sessions so you can judge its merits yourself.

How Does Acupuncture Treat Common Conditions?

Acupuncture has been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions. Here are the top 8 conditions it helps along with how it eases the associated symptoms:

1. Lower Back Pain

Like soothing a sore muscle with massage, acupuncture increases blood flow to the back to alleviate spasms and loosen tense areas. It also prompts your body to release its own natural pain-relieving chemicals. 

This two-pronged action provides back pain relief that conventional treatments struggle to match.

2. Insomnia

Picture an overactive mind that won't power down. Acupuncture helps calm the nervous system activity that prevents quality sleep.

Strategic needling prompts calming responses so your mind and body cooperate to initiate healthy sleep. Over sessions, acupuncture retrains the biological clock for restful nights.

3. Headaches and Migraines

Anyone who has experienced throbbing migraine pain knows the appeal of pain relief.

Acupuncture can help prevent headaches before they start by regulating key neurotransmitters and signals between the brain and nerves. Fewer emergency pain signals mean less head pain.

Complete Wellness leverages acupuncture's ability to prevent migraines through holistic treatments tailored to each patient's needs.

4. Digestive Problems

Acupuncture can help soothe various digestive troubles like IBS, reflux, and indigestion. It eases stomach upset by reducing inflammation, relaxing tight muscles, and promoting healthy motility.

Think of acupuncture as hitting a reset button for your digestive system. Needles stimulate points linked to the gut-brain to balance secretion, absorption, and contractions. The discomfort subsides as your digestion gets back in sync.

5. Anxiety and Depression

Acupuncture influences imbalanced mood-related hormones and chemistry linked to feeling anxious, worried, or down. Restoring equilibrium in these systems results in a sense of inner calm, relief from anxious thoughts, and a brighter perspective.

6. Allergies

Picture your body overreacting to normally harmless things like pollen. Acupuncture helps calm those allergic reactions by lowering inflammatory chemicals and histamine production.

Acupuncture turns down your immune system's hypersensitivity to allergens. You get relief when your runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes finally subside.

7. Neuropathy

If nerve pain keeps you up at night, acupuncture can help ease the discomfort.

Acupuncture helps reduce it by boosting circulation to nourish oxygen-starved nerves and releasing natural pain-relieving chemicals.
It wakes up numb, tingly nerves by delivering much-needed blood flow. As nerves reawaken, stabbing, shooting, or burning pain fades.

8. Chronic Fatigue

Have you ever constantly felt drained no matter how much rest you take?

Acupuncture counteracts this exhaustion by increasing and revitalizing blood flow and regulating imbalanced energy hormones and neurotransmitters.

Acupuncture eliminates anything that saps your stamina, allowing you to function again. Soon, you find the energy to complete your daily activities without collapsing.

How Quickly Does Acupuncture Provide Relief?

Acupuncture can provide relief on various timelines, depending on the nature of the condition being treated and the consistency of sessions over time. Here is an overview of how quickly patients may expect to experience benefits:

1. During the First Session

It's common for patients to feel some degree of positive effect even during their very first acupuncture session. The insertion of the needles alone can stimulate immediate physiological responses that start rebalancing the body. 

Some patients experience an immediate reduction in pain, nausea, or anxiety in that first treatment.

2. Faster Relief for Acute Issues

Acupuncture can provide more rapid relief for recent onset acute conditions like back pain from an injury, tension headaches, a migraine flare-up, acute inflammation causing joint pain, or nausea from chemotherapy. 

For these issues, combining acupuncture with other therapies may provide dramatic relief after just 1-3 sessions. This rapid response is due to acupuncture quickly reversing recently developed problems.

At Complete Wellness, we often integrate acupuncture with other modalities like physical therapy for enhanced, rapid relief from acute issues.

3. Longer Treatment for Chronic Conditions

However, chronic conditions that have persisted for many months to years like osteoarthritis, insomnia, depression, or chronic fatigue may require longer acupuncture protocols over weeks to months to achieve full resolution. 

This makes sense because these issues have ingrained, complex roots that developed over substantial time. Full rebalancing takes consistent treatments over an extended period.

While some luckily get relief quickly in one session, acupuncture works best when followed by a series of treatments tailored to your needs. Remain patient through the process, as acupuncture gently restores the body's natural equilibrium.

Scheduling Your First Acupuncture Treatment

Acupuncture's origins trace back centuries, yet it remains relevant today as people seek drug-free relief from common health struggles like chronic pain, anxiety, nausea, and more. 

If you have tried conventional options unsuccessfully and are seeking alternative care centered around your body's inner healing abilities, acupuncture may be worth exploring. 

Here at Complete Wellness, our licensed acupuncturists blend ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine with modern practices to provide customized acupuncture treatments tailored to your specific health needs. 

Our integrative approach allows acupuncture to be combined with other therapies for enhanced benefits. You'll receive undivided attention in relaxing sessions aimed at restoring balance physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

We help facilitate the profound mind-body benefits of acupuncture with an emphasis on patient education, compassionate care, and achieving your wellness goals.

Book an appointment today at Complete Wellness to start your journey towards natural pain relief.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is acupuncture good for anxiety?

Yes, acupuncture can be an effective treatment for anxiety. It helps regulate neurotransmitters, hormones, and nervous system responses involved in anxiety.

2. How often should you get acupuncture?

Most conditions require one session per week for 4-8 weeks initially, which gradually comes down to maintenance sessions. Your acupuncturist will suggest a customized protocol based on your needs.

3. Can acupuncture help you lose weight?

Acupuncture supports weight loss by reducing appetite, cravings, and fatigue. It's most effective when combined with a healthy diet and exercise.

4. Why can’t you move during acupuncture?

Staying still ensures needles remain properly placed to stimulate the intended points on your body. Any movement could dislodge needles or alter their effects. 

5. Is acupuncture a permanent fix?

It can provide lasting relief for many but chronic issues may require maintenance sessions. Consistent treatments bring the body into balance so problems are less likely to return.

Complete wellness

Medically reviewed by Complete Wellness on Feb 16, 2024

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