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What is Acupuncture Good For

October 30, 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 often associated with painful images of thick, invasive needles.

But modern acupuncture bears no resemblance to that outdated perception.

In 2023, this evolved healing art uses ultra-thin disposable needles to stimulate natural healing responses in the body. 

Acupuncture has transformed over the years into an effective therapy for diverse health conditions, from pain to nausea, that conventional medical techniques have struggled to treat. 

Tiny needles strategically placed along meridians can prompt helpful physiological changes that relieve chronic pain, reduce inflammation, heal injuries faster, and alleviate nausea.

In this guide, we explore the proven benefits of acupuncture, the common conditions it can treat, and the physiological mechanisms behind this ancient yet modern healing art.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture achieves its effects by triggering cascading responses across interconnected systems in the body. These include:

Pain Relief Effects

  • Releases natural opioids and endorphins that inhibit pain signaling pathways.
  • Modulates nerve transmission in the spinal cord and brain to reduce pain perception.

Mood and Stress Regulation

  • Influences neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine are involved in regulating mood, cognition, and stress response.
  • Activates parasympathetic nervous system responses to counter chronic stress.

Hormonal System Impacts

  • Stimulates the pituitary gland which regulates hormones like melatonin, cortisol, and reproductive hormones.

Sleep Enhancement

  • Impacts factors involved in sleep regulation including body temperature and melatonin to improve sleep quality.

In summary, research continues uncovering the multifaceted biological mechanisms through which acupuncture holistically influences the body's processes to generate its therapeutic effects.

The Therapeutic Benefits of Acupuncture

benefits of acupuncture

Acupuncture promotes healing and wellness in several key ways including:

1. Natural Pain Relief: Acupuncture releases natural analgesics, blocks pain signals, and increases circulation to alleviate acute and chronic pain from back/neck issues, arthritis, headaches, injuries, surgery, etc.

2. Nausea Management: By modulating brain centers and pathways linked to nausea, acupuncture effectively controls vomiting and nausea from chemotherapy, surgery, morning sickness, motion sickness, etc.

3. Improved Neurological Function: Acupuncture repairs nerve damage, promotes plasticity, and regulates brain activity to aid rehabilitation from strokes, Parkinson's disease, age-related decline, etc.

4. Enhanced Mental Health: Acupuncture regulates neurotransmitters, hormones, and the nervous system to help treat depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, eating disorders, insomnia, and more.

5. Immunity and Inflammation Regulation: Acupuncture may help boost immunity and reduce systemic inflammation involved in allergies, asthma, GI issues, autoimmune disease, chronic inflammation, etc.

Choosing the Right Acupuncturist 

What is Acupuncture Good For, how does acupuncture work

Selecting the right acupuncturist is key to ensuring maximum therapeutic benefits. Here are important factors to evaluate when researching acupuncturists:

  • Credentials: Ensure any acupuncturist you see has proper licensing and certification through the NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine). This ensures proper training.
  • Experience: Look for an acupuncturist with ample experience, especially in treating your particular condition. More years in practice equates to greater skill.
  • Specialization: Some acupuncturists specialize in certain areas like pain relief, family care, anxiety, etc. Choose one that matches your needs.
  • Treatment Plan: The acupuncturist should provide a customized treatment plan outlining your goals with recommended session frequency/duration.
  • Communication Style: Look for clear communication and a practitioner who shows sincere interest in understanding your issues.
  • Comfort Level: You should feel at ease with your acupuncturist's bedside manner. Never feel judged or pressured.
  • Integrated Approach: Many clinics leverage acupuncture alongside other modalities like massage, cupping, and herbal medicines for a comprehensive approach.
  • Safety Precautions: The clinic should use single-use disposable needles and follow sterilization protocols to ensure safety.
  • Insurance Coverage: Check if your health insurance policy covers acupuncture to help inform costs.

The Lasting Impact of Acupuncture

Acupuncture has proven therapeutic abilities to safely and naturally treat diverse conditions involving pain, nausea, neurologic function, mental health, and overall wellness.

It works holistically to tap into your body's innate healing powers and restore comfort and function.

Schedule a consultation with a licensed acupuncturist to learn more about integrating acupuncture into improved health. 

Look for practitioners like those at Complete Wellness who blend ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine practices with modern advancements to provide an enriching, personalized acupuncture experience.

Contact us today to schedule an acupuncture session and experience acupuncture's proven abilities to soothe pain, regulate systems, and optimize your well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How many acupuncture sessions will I need?

The number of acupuncture sessions needed depends on your health condition. Acute issues may resolve faster, while chronic problems often require an initial round of treatments followed by maintenance sessions. Your acupuncturist will suggest a customized plan based on your needs.

Is acupuncture covered by health insurance?

Some health insurance plans do cover acupuncture, either partially or fully. Contact your insurer directly to find out about your coverage for acupuncture treatments. If uncovered, some acupuncturists offer discounted rates.

Can acupuncture be combined with other treatments?

Yes, acupuncture is very compatible with other therapies and is often used as a complementary treatment alongside conventional care. Our integrative approach at Complete Wellness incorporates acupuncture alongside treatments like massage therapy, physical therapy, and nutrition.

Is there anyone who should not get acupuncture done?

It's always best to check with your physician before starting acupuncture. Use caution or avoid treatment if you have a bleeding disorder, or pacemaker, are pregnant with complications, or have certain medical devices.

What should I do before my first acupuncture session?

Arrive relaxed, hydrated, and with an open mind. Avoid stimulants or heavy meals right before your visit. Loose, comfortable clothing enables easy access to treatment points on your arms and legs during the session.

Will I feel the needles during acupuncture?

Most feel only minimal pain besides a quick pinching feeling when the needle first enters. You may feel dull achiness, warmth, tingling, or heaviness at points during the session - these sensations are normal.

How long have the therapeutic benefits of acupuncture been known?

As a key therapy in Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture's roots trace back at least 2,500 years. It continues evolving as modern research uncovers more about how it works to balance the body's systems and energy flow.

Complete wellness

Medically reviewed by Complete Wellness on Feb 16, 2024

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