You can get more from your local Wheat Ridge chiropractor than a simple realignment if you have the stomach for it.
Acupuncture (the practice of penetrating the skin with thin, metal needles) can lead to a variety of health benefits and relief. Based in traditional Chinese medicine, and dated as far back as 6000 B.C., it is believed to activate the central nervous system, sending chemical signals to the brain, spinal cord, muscles, and joints, which can promote self-healing and well-being in both the mind and body.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, traditional Chinese practitioners believe there are more than 2,000 connected acupuncture points in the human body. It’s believed the pathways between them create an energy flow called Qi (pronounced “chee”) responsible for the body’s overall health and well-being. The reports from those who have experienced acupuncture vary; it relaxes some and energizes others. Some find pleasure while others experience minimal pain followed by relief later in the process. Below, we break down five potential benefits of giving acupuncture a try.
Relief from Chronic Pain
A 2018 study performed by The Journal of Pain concluded acupuncture is effective at treating chronic pain, and the benefits persist after the treatment for up to a year. The findings indicated the relief was more than patients experiencing a placebo effect.
More specifically, the study concluded acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic musculoskeletal, headache, shoulder pain, and osteoarthritis pain. Experts believe a release of endorphins (acupoints) causes the pain relief associated with acupuncture.
A 2007 study conducted by The National Library of Medicine examined 5,690 patients who visited a healthcare clinic with lower back pain that lasted over three months. The average success rate for relief among the patients was 79.7 percent. However, the study concluded patients who suffer from acute or subacute pain had higher rates of success than those with chronic pain. Still, the results were clear that acupuncture relieved common chronic pain issues, such as arthritis.
Acupuncture could be good for your gut as well. The practice can provide relief from issues such as:
- irritable bowel syndrome
It can also potentially accelerate metabolism and regulate small and large intestine functionality. Balancing the gut can reduce acid reflux, provide relief for those with Crohn’s disease and colitis, reduce cramping, and even help with weight fluctuation.
For those dealing with chronic constipation, studies have shown acupuncture can improve peristalsis in the intestinal tract. Acupuncture can also decrease vomiting and nausea using an acupoint on the forearm. Acupuncture can balance and reduce bloating by breaking down foods and easing an upset stomach. By removing excess heat or dampness from the stomach using acupuncture, or by improving the state or frequency of defecation, one can find relief from diarrhea.
Mental Health Relief
Studies have connected acupuncture to a reduction in anxiety and the severity of depression, though results are still being determined. In one eight-week study, researchers found depressive symptoms improved significantly, with those who received acupuncture feeling more relieved than those who did not. Another study from the same group found acupuncture can have similar effects to an antidepressant called fluoxetine in those with post-stroke depression.
The practice is also known to reduce migraines and depression in pregnant women. Those with migraines and other chronic headaches are five times more likely to experience depression, and at least 14 percent of pregnant women report symptoms of depression. The release of serotonin in acupuncture can drastically improve mood, sleep, and even sexual desire.
Since acupuncture focuses on the central nervous system, it can achieve several neurological benefits. . Aside from headaches and migraines, acupuncture can potentially relieve postoperative pain, conditions resulting from stroke, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease, neurogenic bladder dysfunction, seizures, and more.
The holistic approach that acupuncture brings – as opposed to compartmentalization – often affects multiple aspects of a human’s overall health, so the body begins to balance itself out and work with itself to heal. Below, are three specific acupoints that have known, targeted effects of relief.
- Du 20 – located on the top of the head midway between the apexes of both ears. This point is said to help with memory, mental clarity, and awareness. The point is generally used to treat epilepsy, stroke, and dementia.
- Kidney 1 – located at a specific location on the bottom of the foot. This point can regulate blood flow to the brain and calm and sedate the mind.
- Heart 7 – located at the under and outer side of the arm at the wrist crease. This point is used to treat mania, dementia, and epilepsy.
A number of miscellaneous benefits have been recorded after a patient is treated with acupuncture. These can range anywhere from relief from menstrual pain to prostatitis, male infertility, treating forms of addiction or drug dependence, and even some forms of impotence in males.
Acupuncture treatment has also been known to help with respiratory problems like bronchitis, sinusitis, and some allergies. It can provide relief for addicts suffering from withdrawals and cravings by creating calm feelings, subduing physical reactions to addiction, and relaxing the patient through raising endorphins.
Though the history of acupuncture hasn’t always been held in the best light in the world of Western medicine (the FDA recognized acupuncture for the first time in 1996), all 50 states allow acupuncture to be performed by trained physicians. As studies on the ancient practice continue, the benefits continue to be seen in nearly all areas of treatment.
NOTE: There are some rare but serious risks for certain audiences when it comes to acupuncture. Those with bleeding disorders, such as hemophilia, or those taking anticoagulants or blood thinners should avoid the practice without talking to their physician first. The same goes for those with common metal allergies. Never get acupuncture performed on your body from an amateur acupuncturist without medical counsel or oversight. Be advised bleeding, bruising, and soreness can occur at the insertion sites.