Acupuncture 101

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Over the last few years, Acupuncture has become a mainstream part of health care. More people are finding a variety of health benefits from this non-invasive form of care. Even celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie are fans. 

So, what exactly is Acupuncture? Acupuncture is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practice which involves inserting very thin needles into the body. For over 2000 years, acupuncture has been used to treat a variety of health issues.According to Traditional Chinese Medicine our bodies are made up of many channels each housing energy referred to as Qi – pronounced “Chee”. When there are blockages or restrictions in Qi, ailments develop. Acupuncture works by restoring the body’s balance of energy which in turn, allows the body to heal and overcome illness or injuries. If the idea of needles still has you a bit apprehensive about trying acupuncture, here is everything you need to know about acupuncture and why you should add it to your health regime today!

It is not painful

This is the biggest misconception about acupuncture. Acupuncture  is not meant to generate pain. The needles used are not the same as a nurse would use for drawing blood. These are very fine needles that are not designed to puncture blood vessels, which is why you will not see heavy bleeding with the insertion or removal of acupuncture needles.  

Some people may feel a bit of pressure or a quick pinch when the needles are inserted but the discomfort is bearable. Acupuncture has very few risks when performed by a licensed/registered acupuncturist.

Before your first acupuncture your practitioner will do a thorough medical history and physical examination. If you are pregnant, have any bleeding disorders or infectious disease there are certain precautions that your practitioner will need to take. Sometimes bruising, fatigue, and soreness follow an acupuncture appointment, especially after your first time. But these are short lived and will be explained by your provider.

It can assist with mental health therapy

There has been recent evidence showing that acupuncture helps as much as some medications, to manage the symptoms associated with depression and anxiety. It works with the body’s natural systems to improve mood and create relaxation while reducing stress like symptoms. Acupuncture also helps to release endorphins which can help with low energy.

It is an effective adjunct therapy for chronic pain sufferers

Studies have shown that acupuncture can be used to help treat chronic pain conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia and tendonitis. Studies have found acupuncture treatment to provide longer lasting effects than certain drugs. This is important especially as addiction to opioids is becoming an epidemic in our society. Since acupuncture works with the body’s circulatory system, it can reduce inflammation and swelling which in turn can reduce the intensity of pain associated with chronic conditions.

It can help women struggling with Infertility

More women are turning to acupuncture to assist with infertility. Studies have found acupuncture to improve reproductive functioning by assisting the body with ovulation as well as improving circulation to the reproductive organs including the uterus. It is also used to increase the effectiveness of other therapies including in-vitro fertilization and intrauterine insemination and is often used simultaneously with those therapies.

Once pregnant acupuncture can also support the aches the pains associated with pregnancy as well as assist women who are past their due date and looking to encourage the start of labour by working to ripen the cervix and prepare the body for labour.

It has been proven to help those with sleep issues

By regulating the body’s energy or qi, acupuncture eliminates various pathogens which can negatively affect sleep and cause insomnia. It also stimulates neurotransmitters linked to relaxation and sleep, thereby improving sleep quality and reducing insomnia. 

It can get rid of your next headache

Research has shown that acupuncture can not only decrease the frequency of headaches, including tension headaches and migraines but the intensity as well. Studies suggest that acupuncture improves your circulation which can reduce headache symptoms.

Still not convinced acupuncture is worth a try? While treatments are covered by most insurance plans. Consult your insurance company for more information about your coverage.