Perhaps one of the oldest forms of medicine, acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical art that is still proving 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 are meant to improve blood and oxygen flow, relieve chronic pain, and promote healing in the body.
What is Acupuncture?
In its truest form, acupuncture is a traditional practice of ancient Chinese medicine. The art of acupuncture has been deeply embedded in Chinese civilization for over 2,000 years, and has been used to promote a healthier body and a healthier life for generations.
The ancient Chinese believed that an energy ran through their body and was connected to their 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 of qi resulted in a lack of health.
It was thought that qi energy could be manipulated in order to create a healthier body, hence, 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, with a medically-backed foundation.
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 inserted anywhere from ten to thirty minutes. In some instances, an acupuncturist may apply electrical stimulation or heat to enhance the effects of the needles.
While this might sound intimidating to some, the process is actually close to painless. When performed by a professional, like those at ChiroCare of Florida, the needles do not harm the skin. And in reality, 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 that body’s self-healing mechanism. The method of acupuncture aims to encourage the body to heal faster and improve its overall function. While the ancient Chinese and those who actively study acupuncture as an art believe this is due to the realignment of the qi, studies have suggested that this is due to the healing process that naturally occurs within the body.
The points at which an acupuncturist inserts needles causes the body to release endorphins, a natural pain relieving chemical that exists within the body. Also known as the “feel-good” chemical, endorphins are also released during processes such as exercise. Acupuncture additionally affects the area of the brain that manages serotonin – an important chemical and neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood and social behavior, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, sexual desire and function.
By inserting needles into the body, acupuncture essentially tricks the body into believing its been injured. In this way, the normal healing processes take place, rushing nutrient-rich blood to the site of insertion. This blood oxygenates and enriches the area, helping to 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 have shown 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. Moreover, acupuncture increases the secretion of nocturnal melatonin, the naturally occurring chemical that aids and induces sleep. This means that for those suffering from insomnia or restless sleep, acupuncture can assist in securing a good night’s rest.
However, acupuncture can help to restore balance in the body even without the presence of pain. Many women are turning to acupuncture to assist in fertility issues, as well as help with the discomfort that accompanies pregnancy. Additionally, acupuncture has become a trending solution to those battling acne, as the needles encourage healing and cleansing of the skin.
What Are the Risks of Acupuncture?
Generally speaking, acupuncture runs 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 receive acupuncture, those with…
- Bleeding Disorders
- Pregnancy in the Third Trimester
…may want to consult with a doctor prior to receiving acupuncture.
So, how’s your qi? If you want to kick-start your body’s natural self-healing processes to reduce pain, inflammation, and promote healing, contact ChiroCare of Florida today to make an appointment for acupuncture at an office near you.