Let’s get straight to the point. Acupuncture isn’t new, in fact in China, it has been a normal part of life for over 3000 years. It is true to say that acupuncture hasn’t always been embraced by western medicine in the same way as it has for our friends in the Far East, but times are changing. Growing evidence points to some tangible benefits for those willing to stick with it. All puns intended.
What is Acupuncture?
So, what exactly is acupuncture? Good question. Acupuncture, at least in the traditional sense, is based on the belief that we all have a life force called Qi (pronounced “chee”). Qi is like an energy that flows through each and every one of us. This Qi flows throughout the body using channels called meridians. Still with me? Good.
Acupuncturists believe that when you feel pain this is because your Qi isn’t flowing through your body as easily as it should. However, this can be resolved by sticking needles into you! Obviously. Blockages in the meridians that stop your Qi flowing can be caused by things like poor diet, emotional or physical stress, or infection or injury.
To help realign your Qi, acupuncture involves the insertion of incredibly fine, sterilised, single-use needles, usually around 12 of them, in certain areas of your body. By placing these needles in particular acupuncture points just under the skin they begin to stimulate your muscles and sensory nerves. This means the body begins to internally release natural chemicals called endorphins, which can help to relieve pain by up to 50%. Acupuncture works best with back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, headaches (including migraines), and even osteoarthritis.
The Benefits of Having Acupuncture
Pain relief isn’t the only benefit of acupuncture. Unless you’ve arrived in the 21st century via a time machine, you’ll already know about the stress and strain that modern life brings. Levels of stress and anxiety have never been higher, so if you’re biting your fingernails and pulling your hair out just trying to get through the day, then acupuncture may help.
Studies have shown that stress and anxiety isn’t just a mental health issue. In fact, around 77% of us have said we’ve experienced physical symptoms of stress, including poor quality sleep, short attention span, and irritability. Acupuncture treatments can help with those symptoms by promoting relaxation which regulates hormone levels. This occurs by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. Research suggests that even a single 20-minute session of acupuncture can have a tangible benefit.
If the thought of being covered in needles (ok, maybe not ‘covered’) hasn’t put you off, then the question becomes who is acupuncture for and is it right for everyone? Only you will know your own body, how it feels and what ails you. Acupuncture isn’t a cure. Some people can experience slight bleeding or bruising around the acupuncture points. Some people may feel drowsy, sick or dizzy afterwards, but these side-effects aren’t guaranteed for everyone and do tend to be short-lived. Obviously, if you have an aversion to needles (or an allergy to metal) it isn’t for you.
Have we spiked your curiosity in acupuncture? Yes? Well, why not come and say hello? Here at TEH Therapy, we help people across the nation by providing an acupuncture service to help and manage pain. Get in touch today.