The human body has an amazing capacity for healing, yet our modern lifestyle often makes it difficult for many people to tap that potential. Acupuncture an ancient practice rooted in the ancestral science of Chinese medicine, helps promote that natural healing potential. By balancing the body, mind and spirit and restoring overall energy balance, acupuncture can help people embrace optimal wellness without medication or invasive medical procedures.
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a procedure that uses tiny needles inserted into the skin to help balance a person’s energy. The needles are inserted at specific locations along the patient’s body that align with energy points. This triggers the body’s natural healing capabilities, helping restore balance to both the mind and body.
The Philosophy Behind Acupuncture
Traditional acupuncture works on the belief that the body is controlled by an energy flow, known as qi (pronounced “chee”), that travels through pathways called meridians. Acupuncturists believe that problems or blockages with the flow of energy along these meridians is responsible for many ailments. Toxins, stress, trauma, hormones and even the foods we eat can all contribute to blocking qi.
While some practitioners still follow the traditional philosophy of qi, others have also started incorporating a more integrative approach, supported by research and western medicine principles. For example, many of today’s acupuncturists view the acupuncture points as places that stimulate nerves, invigorating the body’s natural pain fighting and healing processes.
Common Ailments Treated with Acupuncture
One of the main focus of acupuncture treatment is the reduction of pain and improvement of overall health. It may be used to reduce pain after surgery or medical and dental treatments. Patients with chronic headaches and migraines can also greatly benefit from acupuncture treatment, and it is commonly used for muscle and back pain, stress relief and overall wellness. Patients with neurological conditions also report relief after acupuncture treatments.
Acupuncture can also help support better immune and nervous system function. This, in turn, promotes improved overall wellness and helps the body heal itself naturally when illness or injury occurs.
The History of Acupuncture
It is believed that acupuncture originated in China in 6,000 BC. In its earliest days, acupuncture treatment was performed using sharp bones. As early as 198 BC, ancient Chinese documents that talked about meridians and qi were found. These early practitioners theorized that balance and health came from qi, and when it was out of balance, the body struggled with illness.
Acupuncture procedures were first documented inThe Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine,a book that was published around 100 BC. Over the next few centuries, precise acupuncture points were developed, and the procedure became mainstream in China. During the Ming dynasty of the 14ththrough 16thcentury, the acupuncture points were officially recorded.
The practice fell out of favor in China in the 18th and 19th centuries as Western medicine took over, and in 1929 it was outlawed in China. Yet over those years it spread to other Asian countries, particularly in Japan. It then experienced a revival in 1949 under Communist China, and soon the knowledge began to spread again. In 1971 a member of the US press corps was treated with acupuncture in China, and he described his treatment to the New York Times. American interest in the practice began to grow, and today people across the country benefit from acupuncture treatment.
14 Health Benefits of Acupuncture
If you are considering acupuncture for the first time, you may feel curious about these techniques. Here are some of the health benefits you may enjoy if you receive an acupuncture treatment:
1. Reduced Stress
One of the primary reasons people seek acupuncture treatment is to reduce their stress levels. Restoring energy balance and triggering nervous system responses is a key factor in lowering the body’s stress reaction. According to Healthline, research has found thatacupuncture lowers stress hormone levelsand improves mood to help reduce feelings of anxiety and increase feelings of happiness.
2. Reduced Back and Joint Pain
Pain relief is one of the topbenefits of acupuncture. The technique can reduce tension in the back and neck and alleviate pain in the joints. This is a drug-free way to address common pain complaints. It can also reduce inflammation in these affected areas.
3. Headache Relief
Patients struggling with chronic headaches and migraines who do not want to have prescription medications as part of their treatment protocol may find relief with acupuncture treatments. Several studies reported in the National Institutes of Health found thatacupuncture treatment was effective in reducing both the frequency and severity of headaches among chronic sufferers. It may also be more effective than pain-reducing medications in treating tension headaches.
4. Improved Eye Health
Eye strain is a common complaint in the modern world with its heavy reliance on computer and phone screens. Acupuncture reduces eye strain and can also help improve vision for people dealing with problems like night blindness or lazy eyes.
5. Enhanced Mental Clarity
Brain fog occurs when stress and other concerns rob an individual of mental clarity, making it difficult to think well. Acupuncture treatment can enhance mental clarity and reduce the risk of problems with brain fog.
6. Reduce Symptoms of Neurological Disorders
Neurological disease, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, can have a huge impact on a patient’s life. Acupuncture is an alternative medicine option to help treat these diseases. Clinical studies have shownimprovement in language and motor functionof patients with many neurological diseases and conditions who seek acupuncture treatment.
7. Reduce an Individual’s Risk of Falling Ill
Patients who routinely have acupuncture treatment enjoy a reduced risk of getting sick because the treatment supports the body’s natural immune system responses. When the individual is exposed to a virus or bacterium, the body is better able to fight it off, and the person is less likely to fall ill.
8. Fewer Digestive Problems
Constipation, heartburn, and irritable bowel syndrome are common digestive problems for the modern individual. When your digestive system isn’t working as it should, your overall health and wellness is damaged. Acupuncture treatment helps regulate digestive health and bring relief from these common ailments.
9. Increased Energy
After acupuncture treatment, patients may experience a surge in energy levels. This can help people feel more productive atworkand home.
10. Better Sleep
When the body’s energy is in balance and the nervous system is properly stimulated, many people have better abilities to fall asleep at night. Acupuncture has shown inscientific trialsto benefit people struggling with insomnia, and some results found that acupuncture actually had a greater benefit for patients than sleep medications.
11. Relief from Allergies
Allergy sufferers can use acupuncture to strengthener their immune response before the start of allergy season. Sometimes when used in conjunction with allergy medications, acupuncture can help reduce the symptoms of allergies once an attack begins.
12. Controlling Blood Pressure
Rising blood pressure levels are a problem in modern society, especially with high-stress jobs and overall obesity levels on the rise. Regular acupuncture treatment combined with medical treatment for the cardiovascular system can help reduce blood pressure levels. The practice helps support proper heart function and blood flow, and at times it is more effective than medication at controlling blood pressure.
13. Enhancing Fertility
Couples who are trying to conceive a child may have faster results with acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture can actually optimize the production of reproductive hormones, and subsequent treatments can support a healthy pregnancy once a woman conceives.
14. Improved Healing After Medical Procedures
Acupuncture can assist people who have had surgery or undergone cancer treatments heal more quickly after their procedures. The immune system and wellness support achieved through acupuncture triggers the body’s natural healing abilities to speed healing.
Acupuncture: A Safe Alternative to Modern Medicine
Acupuncture, when performed by a licensed acupuncturist in a controlled clinical setting, offers numerous benefits. In many cases, it delivers the same or better results than modern medicine without the risks and sideeffects.
If the study of acupuncture fascinates you, consider a career in this field. Pacific College of Health and Science offers a comprehensive acupuncture program that will teach you everything you need to know about starting a practice.If you are interested in learning more about theSan Diegoacupuncture program,New Yorkacupuncture program, orChicagoacupuncture program offered at Pacific College of Health and Science, visitadmissionsorcontact ustoday.
What does acupuncture do mentally? ›
Acupuncture can benefit individuals living with high levels of stress and anxiety disorders. The stress-relieving elements of acupuncture help to also improve emotional regulation, overall mood, and boost overall feelings of wellbeing.How long after acupuncture Do you feel the benefit? ›
After two or three sessions, you should start to notice improvements in certain areas. Eventually, you will observe an overall sense of wellness, including your psychological and physical health.Is acupuncture good for the mind? ›
Acupuncture is also a powerful treatment for the body and mind. Acupuncture can treat physical ailments, promote health and longevity, and treat mental health issues like anxiety and depression.Why does acupuncture release emotions? ›
Since acupuncture works by addressing the root cause of a condition, the process can cause repressed emotions to surface. You may be quicker to cry or notice yourself feeling more sentimental than usual. In general, emotions—good or bad—are felt more intensely. This is a good thing.What happens after acupuncture? ›
What to Expect After Treatment: In general, people tend to feel relaxed after an acupuncture treatment. And the days following might even mean better sleep, digestion, and an overall sense of well-being. But some patients report having a deeper, more intense effect in the days following a session.What does acupuncture release? ›
Acupuncture points are believed to stimulate the central nervous system. This, in turn, releases chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These biochemical changes may stimulate the body's natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being.What should you not do after acupuncture? ›
So, what should clients avoid after acupuncture? Clients should avoid strenuous exercise, caffeine, junk food, alcohol, cold temperatures, digital screens, and, where possible, stressful situations.How can you tell if acupuncture is working? ›
Acupuncture needles are much thinner than medical needles, and they are solid, not hollow. The needles may cause some muscle sensations, such as dull ache or tingling. Your practitioner will ask you to report when you feel a deep heaviness or numbness. Those sensations usually mean the treatment is working.What part of the brain is affected by acupuncture? ›
Research Highlights. Acupuncture modulates brain activity at the limbic–paralimbic–neocortical network (LPNN) and the default mode network (DMN).Is acupuncture good for memory? ›
Acupuncture was shown to have a significant beneficial effect on cognitive function, including learning or relearning ability and memory in all animal studies[12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20].
How do you feel after acupuncture? ›
Some people feel relaxed and others feel energized after an acupuncture treatment. But not everyone responds to acupuncture. If your symptoms don't begin to improve within a few weeks, acupuncture may not be right for you.Does acupuncture rewire your brain? ›
Research indicates that "real" acupuncture rewires the brain to produce long-term improvement in carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, while "sham" acupuncture may produce temporary results by tapping into the placebo circuitry in the brain.Can acupuncture clear chakras? ›
In conclusion, yes, acupuncture can alleviate pain. It can even open and align the chakras.Does acupuncture release trauma? ›
With Acupuncture treatment the mind, body, spirit and emotions have been viewed as a seamless whole – disharmony in one affects the other – there is no separation. Because of this connection, treating areas of the body affected by trauma, acupuncture can release and heal the emotional pain held in the body.Does acupuncture release toxins? ›
Acupuncture has the potential to detox the body of drugs, alcohol, chemicals, and toxins, according to recent studies. Meanwhile, others report that Acupuncture simply decreases the side effects of a regular detox.What should you not do before acupuncture? ›
Avoid Caffeine Before Your Appointment
Do not drink coffee for at least two hours before your acupuncture treatment. Because it is a stimulant, coffee increases your body's fight-or-flight response, something which acupuncture seeks to lessen. Visit our website to schedule an acupuncture treatment today.
If a needle hits a small nerve, muscle, or blood vessel, you may feel some pain or a more intense sensation. A single sensation is OK as long as it's brief. Points on the extremities are more likely to produce stronger reactions in the form of dull aches or tingling sensations.How long does acupuncture last for anxiety? ›
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) reported that the evidence for the use of acupuncture to treat anxiety disorders is getting stronger. The University of York reported benefits from acupuncture lasting three months after the conclusion of treatment.Can acupuncture regenerate nerves? ›
"Acupuncture is really good at restoring blood flow and stimulating the body's nerve pathways," Kulas says. "It can also help with nerve regeneration and preservation. If there has been nerve damage or diminished sensation, we target treatment in these areas to re-stimulate those nerve fibers."Is acupuncture good for anxiety? ›
"Acupuncture stimulates the body's natural feel-good hormones and reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol," says Mathew Kulas, MA, RAc, an acupuncturist at Henry Ford Health. Studies show that acupuncture is an effective treatment for anxiety, with fewer side effects than medications.
Why can't I shower after acupuncture? ›
The intense heat from Sauna and bath is considered an extra stimulation that may undo the energy reset. However hot showers are okay after acupuncture.Who should not acupuncture? ›
Bleeding disorder such as hemophilia or use of blood thinners. Infections skin disorder or disease. If pregnant, needling in the abdominal area or lumbosacral region should be avoided. It is also advisable to avoid any acupuncture that might stimulate the early delivery of the fetus or even lead to abortion.What are the negative side effects of acupuncture? ›
Side effects may include:
- Pain and bleeding from the needle insertion.
- Skin rash.
- Allergic reaction.
- Bruising around the area the needles were placed.
Acupuncture is also great for long term emotional health, immune response, and longevity so we recommend a minimum of one treatment per month for optimal health and wellness.Does acupuncture get rid of inflammation? ›
One well-researched effect of acupuncture is reducing inflammation throughout the body. Acupuncture stimulates chemicals that reduce swelling and quiet unwanted immune responses and allergic reactions.What happens if you don't drink enough water after acupuncture? ›
Your body can easily become dehydrated after an acupuncture treatment so you need to make sure that you are drinking plenty of water. And avoid caffeine and alcohol. You need to avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol because they will dehydrate you even more. You also need to watch what you eat.How much water should I drink after acupuncture? ›
Rehydrate with water.
You may actually feel quite thirsty after the session, so go ahead and drink as much water as you can hold. Staying hydrated after acupuncture is crucial to helping the body flush out the toxins, as well as replenish and restore the balance in your system.
Avoid Strenuous Exercise
If you perform intense exercises or heavy lifting, you may undo some of the benefits of treatment. If you're an active person, you can still participate in some light exercise. Just try going for a walk or light run instead of lifting weights and going all-out.
Enhancing the ability to think clearly is something your practitioner of acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help you with. Although there can be many factors contributing to 'brain fog,' sometimes it is an imbalance of the spleen that needs treatment.Can acupuncture help neurological issues? ›
Acupuncture has been widely used for a range of neurological disorders, and research supports its use for this purpose. In fact, neuro-acupuncture is a modern acupuncture technique that integrates traditional Chinese needling methods specifically to treat neurological disorders.
Can acupuncture help neurological disorders? ›
Acupuncture can inhibit the accumulation of toxic proteins in neurological diseases, modulate energy supply based on glucose metabolism, depress neuronal apoptosis, etc., and exert a wide range of neuroprotective effects.Can acupuncture prevent Alzheimer's? ›
Two separate studies have shown that acupuncture may be able to help people with Alzheimer's. In both studies, researchers found that acupuncture could improve the lives of people with the disease by increasing verbal and motor skills and improving their mood and cognitive function.Can acupuncture help with Alzheimer? ›
A recent review of several studies showed that acupuncture treatment for Alzheimer's can improve memory and cognitive function. A review of 12 studies involving the use of acupuncture and TCM herbs to treat Alzheimer's showed improvement in symptoms that was more effective than conventional drug treatment.Does acupuncture work for concentration? ›
Acupuncture can help improve focus and attention, reduce fidgeting, lower hyperactivity, augment mood management techniques and enhance concentration.Why does an acupuncturist look at your tongue? ›
Acupuncturists check your tongue for color, texture and coating. In addition, the shape of your tongue can be an indicator of poor health. When considering acupuncture therapy in El Segundo, be ready to be fully examined by your practitioner, including inside your mouth.What happens after acupuncture for anxiety? ›
The main side effect that people experience with acupuncture is soreness following a session. This usually goes away within a few hours, though it can also leave some bruising. Some people also feel pinpricks of pain during a session. Licensed acupuncturists are required to use sterile, disposable needles.Can acupuncture help with psychological problems? ›
Acupuncture can give individuals a sense of calm and peace of mind, which helps to alleviate anxiety. It's effective for treating chronic and acute depression.Is acupuncture good for anxiety? ›
"Acupuncture stimulates the body's natural feel-good hormones and reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol," says Mathew Kulas, MA, RAc, an acupuncturist at Henry Ford Health. Studies show that acupuncture is an effective treatment for anxiety, with fewer side effects than medications.What are 3 benefits of acupuncture? ›
- Reduced Stress. ...
- Reduced Back Pain, Neck Tension and Relieve Joint Pain in the Hands and Arms. ...
- Relief from Headaches. ...
- Reduced Eye Strain. ...
- Improved Immune System and Reduced Sick Days. ...
- Enhanced Mental Clarity and Increased Energy.
Walker explains that in his acupuncture practice, people with mild to moderate depression may experience positive changes within 8 to 12 treatments over 4 to 6 weeks, but the duration and frequency of treatment can vary.
Is acupuncture good for memory? ›
Acupuncture was shown to have a significant beneficial effect on cognitive function, including learning or relearning ability and memory in all animal studies[12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20].How long does it take for acupuncture to work for anxiety? ›
It works by assisting the nervous system achieve balance, alleviating stress and anxiety symptoms. It's been reported that acupuncture can give individual rapid results, often working within only one to two sessions. However, like any treatment, results and the number of sessions will vary from person to person.How often should you get acupuncture for depression? ›
They range from once a week to six days a week. No studies have compared how often treatments are given to discover what's likely to produce the best response in people with depression. Very frequent treatments may be difficult because of the time and money required.How do you know if acupuncture is working? ›
Acupuncture needles are much thinner than medical needles, and they are solid, not hollow. The needles may cause some muscle sensations, such as dull ache or tingling. Your practitioner will ask you to report when you feel a deep heaviness or numbness. Those sensations usually mean the treatment is working.Is acupuncture good for sleep? ›
Acupuncture, as one of the complementary and alternative medical therapies for insomnia, has been proved to be an effective method for insomnia in many clinical trials.What is a good vitamin for anxiety? ›
B-complex, vitamin E, vitamin C, GABA, and 5-HTP are 5 vitamins commonly used to help with anxiety and stress.What does acupuncture treat best? ›
A key component of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is most commonly used to treat pain. Increasingly, it is being used for overall wellness, including stress management.What should you not do after acupuncture? ›
So, what should clients avoid after acupuncture? Clients should avoid strenuous exercise, caffeine, junk food, alcohol, cold temperatures, digital screens, and, where possible, stressful situations.Is acupuncture good for anxiety and depression? ›
Despite these limitations, there is some research supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment for depression and related symptoms. Decrease in severity of depression. In an 8-week acupuncture study of 151 men and women, researchers found that depressive symptoms improved significantly.Can acupuncture help mood swings? ›
Acupuncture treats the symptoms and causes of mood swings by balancing the subtle energies within the body naturally. Balancing the energetic qi flow within various body systems minimizes the frequency and intensity of mood swings.