Perhaps one of the oldest forms of medicine, acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical art that still proves beneficial in modern times. In fact, a recent survey found that almost 3.5 million Americans said they’d had acupuncture in the past year.
At ChiroCare of Florida, our acupuncture services help improve blood and oxygen flow, relieve chronic pain, and promote healing in the body.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a traditional practice of ancient medicine that has been deeply embedded in Chinese civilization for millennia. Acupuncture has been used to promote a healthier body and life for generations.
The ancient Chinese believed that an energy ran through their body and connected to internal organs. This energy is referred to as “qi” – pronounced chi. The ancient Chinese believed that qi was everything circulating throughout the body, including blood, nerve impulses, and bodily systems such as the respiratory and digestive systems. A healthy flow of qi resulted in a healthy body, and a not-so-healthy flow resulted in poor health.
It was thought that qi energy could be manipulated to create a healthier body, and acupuncture was developed. By identifying and applying pressure to specific acupuncture points – nicknamed “acupoints” – a person’s qi can be altered. Thousands of years later, these acupuncture points are still being used, though now, they are medically-backed.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture works by inserting needles at various points in the skin, known as acupuncture points. An acupuncturist typically inserts ten needles per session, and allows them to remain from ten to thirty minutes.
Sometimes, an acupuncturist may apply electrical stimulation or heat to enhance the effects of the needles.
While this might sound intimidating, the process is close to painless. When performed by a professional, like those at ChiroCare of Florida, the needles do not harm the skin. In fact, it’s the action of penetrating the skin that catalyzes the positive effects of acupuncture.
Why Does Acupuncture Work?
Put simply, acupuncture is effective because it activates the body’s self-healing mechanism. The needle punctures encourage the body to heal faster and improve overall function.
While the ancient Chinese, and those who actively study acupuncture as an art, believe this is due to realignment of the qi, studies suggest that it is due to the body’s natural healing process.
Chemicals Released during Acupuncture
The small punctures made by acupuncture needles cause the body to release endorphins. Endorphins are a natural pain relieving chemical found in the body. Also known as the “feel-good” chemical, endorphins are typically released during processes such as exercise. Acupuncture also affects the area of the brain that manages serotonin – an important chemical and neurotransmitter. Serotonin helps to regulate mood and social behavior, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, sexual desire and function.
The needles trick the body into believing its been injured. To “heal,” nutrient-rich blood rushes to the site of the needle. The blood oxygenates and enriches the area, and helps reduce inflammation, pain, and discomfort. The self-healing mechanism of the body is harmless, and harnesses the body’s own power to promote healing.
Who Can Benefit from Acupuncture?
Recent studies show that those suffering from chronic pain can benefit from acupuncture, as well as those suffering from:
- Chronic headaches
- Shoulder pain
- Back and neck pain
- Dysmenorrhea, or painful periods
- Cancer treatment
Likewise, acupuncture has proven beneficial for those suffering from digestive issues, including nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and indigestion. Acupuncture increases the secretion of nocturnal melatonin. Melatonin is the naturally occurring chemical that aids and induces sleep. For those suffering from insomnia or restless sleep, acupuncture can assist in securing a good night’s rest.
Further, acupuncture can help restore balance in the body without the presence of pain. Many women are turning to acupuncture to assist in fertility issues, as well as help with discomfort during pregnancy. Acupuncture has also become a trending solution for those battling acne. The needles encourage healing and cleansing in the skin.
What Are the Risks of Acupuncture?
Generally speaking, acupuncture carries a very low risk. As with all medical procedures, the equipment used must be clean – failure to use new, sterile needles can result in infection. Minor bleeding and bruising may occur, depending on the skin’s sensitivity.
Whereas most everyone can get acupuncture, those with…
- Bleeding Disorders
- Pregnancy in the Third Trimester
…should consult their doctor first.
So, how’s your qi? If you want to kick-start your body’s natural self-healing processes to reduce pain, inflammation, and promote well-being, contact ChiroCare of Florida today to make an appointment for acupuncture at an office near you.