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How Acupuncture Benefits Your Physical and Mental Health

Woman getting acupuncture for acupuncture benefits

Acupuncture is a 2,500-year-old alternative healing method adopted from traditional Chinese medicine. This stream of medical practice has gained worldwide popularity.  The science is based on the theory of qi — the life force or energy, according to Chinese philosophy.


How does acupuncture work?

During an acupuncture session, certified acupuncturists use sterile needles at anatomical points on or in the skin. These metallic needles are applied manually or through electrical stimulation. The FDA regulates acupuncture needles, just as it does other devices, under good manufacturing practices and single-use standards of sterility.

This application generates biomedical responses either locally, where the needle is applied, or at the affected body part. Acupuncture benefits the patient by stimulating sensory neurons that are responsible for sending messages to the central nervous system. It leads to the activation of pathways affecting various physiological systems in the brain as well as in the periphery.

Some therapists may also combine the use of cupping and moxibustion, the burning of cone-shaped preparations of moxa (made from dried mugwort) on or near the skin, often but not always near or on an acupuncture point.

A 2016 study, published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, found that acupuncture can be a more effective method of pain relief than morphine.


Treating Physical Ailments

Acupuncture has often proven to treat, and effectively heal, physical injuries that occur during accidents, sports, or due to aging. Leg, ankle and foot pain, arm, wrist and hand pain, tennis elbow, knee pain, hip pain, muscle and joint pain, back pain, shoulder pain and neck pain are some of the common conditions that people turn to acupuncture to address. To relieve such pain, the stimulation helps by releasing endorphins, the natural chemicals in the body that fight pain. Experts also recommend acupuncture for headaches and acupuncture for migraines.

Other muscle strains and neural paralytic disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive strain injuries, jaw pain (TMJ) and sciatica also come under the scope of acupuncture treatment. Also, acupuncture benefits people suffering from dental pain, arthritis, tendonitis, myofascial pain syndrome and post-operative pain.

Allergies, respiratory disorders, hypertension and other similar physical discomforts can be treated by acupuncture too. This is because it helps the brain increase the body’s level of T-cells, which play a vital role in destroying bacteria and harmful viruses in the body. Acupuncture can also be used to control hunger, reduce stress and balance adrenal functions, all of which contribute to weight loss.


Treating Mental Disorders

Depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are some of the mental health disorders that acupuncture can treat. This is because it affects the dopaminergic system in the brain.

It also helps in increasing the production of melatonin, which assists in a restful sleep. Hence, sleep disorders such as apnea and insomnia can be treated using acupuncture. It reduces anxiety, which causes sleeplessness, which further improves the length and quality of sleep.

Apart from this, acupuncture benefits patients by improving their general well-being and reducing dependency on drugs or medications during prolonged medical treatments.

In many cases, acupuncture has also treated other ailments in patients who were suffering from a disease other than the condition they were being treated for. This is because acupuncture also activates the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland.

To boost the benefits of acupuncture, you can also combine it with other natural healing techniques, such as bodywork therapies, herbal remedies, and dietary changes. Some other alternative medical practices that you can consider with acupuncture sessions are chiropractic adjustments, massages, and movement exercises like Tai Chi. Consult with the experts at Don Valley to optimize the perfect wellness plan to suit your needs.