Acupuncture is thousands of years old, and its recent popularity in North America has grown dramatically over the past few decades.
The reason why everyone seems to be talking about acupuncture is because it is a safe and effective treatment for many conditions, has few and mild side effects, and has numerous therapeutic benefits.
Nowadays, millions of people pursue acupuncture treatments as a natural solution for a myriad of issues, from stress relief to pain relief.
But what is acupuncture, and how does it affect your health?
History Of Acupuncture
Acupuncture is a key technique of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which originated approximately 2,500 years ago.
TCM states that acupuncture exists to balance the flow of energy, or Qi, through your body.
The balance of energy is considered absolutely essential for your health and wellbeing.
Although acupuncture is an ancient technique, it has continued to evolve over the years into its contemporary form.
According to TCM, there are 14 major energy-channel meridians in your body, with hundreds of acupressure points traveling up and down those channels.
The acupuncture needles, rounded and ultra-thin, are inserted along those meridians.
Typically, the acupressure points are located near the centre of a muscle, where the muscle meets a nerve, or where the muscle meets a bone.
Needling these specific points activates your body’s natural healing mechanisms.
Acupuncture is often described as a very relaxing, enjoyable, and painless treatment.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
Acupuncture needles are regulated by the FDA as medical devices, which ensures the quality and safety of the treatment.
Although the concept of needles can be scary to some, acupuncture needles are so thin and specially made that they’re unlikely to even cause bleeding.
The National Institute of Health considers acupuncture to be safe, although you must ensure you’re seeing an experienced practitioner.
Is Acupuncture Based In Science?
Many people are curious about the efficacy of acupuncture, and if it really works.
Although scientists are still researching the effects of acupuncture on pain relief and brain function, there are studies that prove the potential benefits of acupuncture.
This 2015 study examines “sham acupuncture”, which is the act of giving a patient a placebo acupuncture treatment and observing the effects.
Although both the patients receiving placebos and also those receiving true acupuncture experienced migraine pain reduction, the important differences were noted after time had passed.
In the follow-up survey, the group who received the real acupuncture treatments continued to have a decrease in pain and a decrease in quantity of migraines.
Benefits Of Acupuncture
Acupuncture can bolster your brain and your body with its numerous benefits.
If you see parallels between your health and the conditions discussed in this article, you may benefit from pursuing acupuncture.
1. May Help Keep Your Mind Strong
Research in this field is relatively new, but it’s already showing the powerful connection between acupuncture and cognitive improvement.
Acupuncture generates neural responses in various parts of the brain affected by Parkinson’s disease.
This 2002 study shows how individuals with Parkinson’s experienced improved symptoms after receiving two acupuncture treatments every week.
The study determined 85% of patients self-reported improvement of symptoms at the end of the treatment period.
These symptoms include hand tremors, general pain, walking, sleep issues, depression, and anxiety.
Additionally, the study concludes acupuncture is “safe and well tolerated”, and there were absolutely no adverse effects.
2. May Help With Pregnancy
Acupuncture is growing in popularity as a treatment for various issues that arise with pregnancy.
Doctors are recommending acupuncture to help treat stress, ease anxiety, and balance hormones, which are general concerns affecting many pregnant individuals.
This 2012 study investigates acupuncture and pregnancy, and it determines that acupuncture holds potential benefits over conventional therapy regarding pain relief and pregnancy complications.
Pregnancy can be immensely stressful for you and your body both mentally and physically, but acupuncture can help alleviate some of those stressors.
3. May Help With Insomnia
Unfortunately, most conventional sleep medications have unwelcome side effects.
Acupuncture, on the other hand, has no adverse side effects as a sleep aid – and it’s effective.
The Beijing University of Chinese Medicine conducted a study in 2009, analyzing the benefits of acupuncture on sleep quality and helping insomnia.
The study found insomnia patients who added acupuncture to their treatments showed improved effects.
If you’re having issues falling or staying asleep, acupuncture may be the solution you’ve been looking for.
4. May Reduce Chronic Pain
One of the most popular and well-known uses of acupuncture is pain relief, specifically the relief of chronic pain.
Pain symptoms such as muscle spasms, back problems, headaches/migraines, osteoarthritis, and general joint pain are often treated with acupuncture.
A study was conducted in 2014 by Kyung Hee University, examining the results of acupuncture therapy on pain relief in rats.
When the acupuncture needles were applied 5 minutes after pain induction, the stimulation of the needle resulted in a significant decrease in pain.
The study ultimately found that the benefits of acupuncture are evident when the acupuncture is provided properly, paying mind to the duration of treatment, exact position of needling, and specific acupuncture point placement.
Visiting a knowledgeable and experienced practitioner is necessary for the success of your acupuncture treatment and the improvement of your pain symptoms.
5. May Help With Autoimmune Diseases
Finding a treatment that is actually successful in the improvement of symptoms related to an autoimmune disease can be very frustrating.
Many are not aware of the potential benefits of acupuncture in regards to autoimmune diseases.
When you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks your body and affects your tissues.
There are many of these disorders, with varying symptoms – in fact, there are over 80 known autoimmune diseases.
Clinical research has shown how acupuncture can potentially improve immune function and help alleviate autoimmune disorder symptoms by causing physical responses in the brain.
A study conducted in 2015 by the Department of Surgical Sciences at the University of Turin found that stimulating acupressure points significantly improved the symptoms of patients with a multi-system autoimmune disease, Sjögren’s syndrome.
Benefits from the acupuncture treatments were noted not only immediately following the procedure, but also in the months following.
Contact Annex Naturopathic
Acupuncture has proven to be completely safe and very effective in treating countless maladies, some of which you may be experiencing.
Where conventional treatments fail, each year millions of people turn to acupuncture as a natural option.
Acupuncture is an extremely useful tool that provides health benefits both immediate and long-term.
If you’d like to improve aspects of your health from mood and energy to physical discomfort and pain, Annex Naturopathic’s acupuncture treatments may be your solution.
Want to know more about our acupuncture treatments?
Contact Annex Naturopathic today for natural health solutions.
Yours in Health,
Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND