Acupuncture involves the insertion of micro-fine needles into specific points on the surface of the body, which have a direct relationship with internal organ systems.
From a biomedical perspective, acupuncture activates your body’s nervous system and circulatory system, which regulates the production, secretion and transportation of various molecules, including endorphins, neurotransmitters and hormones. By regulating your body’s physiological functions, homeostasis and health may be restored within the body.
Our clinic uses sterilized, single-use, stainless steel needles that are so thin the diameter is often compared to that of a human hair. Insertion is relatively painless and most patients describe a sensation of warmth, dullness, pressure, heaviness, or tingling. Patients also report a profound sense of relaxation and well being after acupuncture treatment.
Health Benefits of Acupuncture May Include:
Acupuncture May Be Appropriate for People Who:
We now know that most diseases are characterized by pain, inflammation and disturbance of homeostasis, and this helps us understand why acupuncture can be effective for so many conditions. Because acupuncture alleviates pain, reduces inflammation, and restores homeostatsis, it can be utilized to treat or manage a wide variety of conditions.
In many cases, acupuncture can quickly and effectively eliminate acute and chronic health conditions, even where other medical therapies have failed. In other cases, acupuncture will work to manage symptoms and slow the progression of illness. Still, other cases require a more integrative medical approach, and acupuncture is used as an effective adjunct to Western biomedical treatment. Even healthy individuals will benefit from acupuncture treatment as a form of preventive and wellness care. Below is a list of health conditions that acupuncture has proven efficacy in treating:
Colds, Flu & Cough
Back Pain & Stiffness
Degenerative Disc Disorders
Muscle Spasms & Weakness
Neck Pain & Stiffness
Repetitive Stress Injuries
Sprains & Strains
GERD (acid reflux)
Malposition of the fetus
Menstrual Pain & Irregularity
Sexual Dysfunction/Low Libido
Skin Problems (eczema, psoriasis, acne)
The concept of Qi remains elusive for scientists, however there is no disagreement between the fundamental anatomical and physiological concepts of western and Chinese medicine. Acupuncture effects every major system of the body, including the cerebral, cardiac, circulatory, endocrine, immune, gastrointestinal and genitourinary systems. Broadly speaking, acupuncture has three primary effects: 1) it alleviates pain, 2) it reduces inflammation and 3) it restores homeostasis.
Acupuncture is a remarkably simple technique that depends entirely upon one thing: the stimulation of the peripheral nervous system. A large body of evidence indicates that acupoints, or “superficial nodes” as they are more accurately translated, have an abundant supply of nerves. By stimulating peripheral nerves, acupuncture is able to produce a variety of physiological effects.
Qi (pronounced “chee”) is most commonly translated as vital life force or energy, and this is the concept that makes Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) distinct. TCM theory affirms that when our Qi is strong, abundant and flowing smoothly, we experience health and vitality. In contrast, when our Qi becomes weakened, deficient or obstructed, we experience pain, illness and disease.
TCM uses a holistic approach to diagnose Qi imbalances and identify their root cause. Once diagnosis is established, acupuncture and other natural therapies are utilized to restore the proper flow of Qi, thereby strengthening and balancing the body’s innate healing capacity.
Whether you accept the idea of Qi or prefer to think about the electrical impulses inherent in our nervous system, it doesn’t really matter—either way, it’s difficult to deny the fact that humans are energetic beings. Our physical, emotional and spiritual bodies abound with electromagnetic and subtle energies that form the very foundation of our health.
Acupuncture Promotes Blood Flow
Acupuncture has been shown to increase vasodilation and blood perfusion and in several regions of the body. This is significant because all of the healing properties are contained within the blood, including oxygen, nutrients, immune substances, hormones, analgesics (painkillers) and anti-inflammatories. Restoring optimal blood flow is essential to promoting and maintaining health. For example, if blood flow is diminished by as little as 3% in the breast area, cancer may develop. Blood flow decreases as we age and can be impacted by trauma, injuries and certain diseases.
Acupuncture Reduces the Intensity and Perception of Chronic Pain
It does this through a process called “descending control normalization”, which involves the serotonergic nervous system. Read a detailed description of how this occurs here.
Acupuncture Stimulates Innate Healing Mechanisms
Acupuncture creates “micro traumas” that stimulate the body’s ability to spontaneously heal injuries to the tissue through nervous, immune and endocrine system activation. As the body heals the micro traumas induced by acupuncture, it simultaneously heals any surrounding tissue damage remaining from old injuries.
Acupuncture Relaxes Tight Muscles
Acupuncture can decrease levels of acetylcholine and other chemicals at specific trigger points. Acetylcholine is the chemical that makes your muscles fire or contract, so decreasing excess amounts has the effect of relaxing the muscle. This in turn releases pressure on joint structures and nerves, and promotes blood flow.
Acupuncture Releases Natural Painkillers
Acupuncture sends signals through the nervous system to the brain, where chemicals such as endorphins, norepinephrine and enkephalin are released. Some of these substances are 10-200 times more potent than morphine!
Acupuncture Reduces Stress
This is perhaps the most important systemic effect of acupuncture. Recent research suggests that acupuncture stimulates the release of oxytocin, a hormone and signaling substance that regulates the parasympathetic nervous system. Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system and the “fight-or-flight” response, which is useful for immediate and short-lived emergencies, but harmful when chronically engaged. Acupuncture disengages the stress response by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which is known as the“rest-and-digest” or “calm-and-connect” system. Research has implicated impaired parasympathetic function in a wide range of autoimmune diseases, including arthritis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.