How Regular Acupuncture Treatments Can Benefit Our Bodies
Finding serenity amid life’s trials can be exhausting — physically, mentally and emotionally. The stress may seem overwhelming at times and can have a significant effect on how we feel.
For thousands of years Eastern Medicine has endeavored to overcome ailments of the self by incorporating practices such as acupuncture. And while one session of acupuncture can immediately send us into a state of deep relaxation, regular acupuncture appointments can be beneficial to our long-term wellness.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is grounded in an ancient philosophy connecting humanity and the universe. We can think of our body as a flowing river with specific pathways called meridians. When the body is balanced, our river flows with ease. However, obstructions can disrupt this steady flow leading to pain, lack of function, or illness.
Acupuncture stimulates nerves that are connected to specific parts of our body and helps to release this blocked energy. This is why regular acupuncture sessions can provide our bodies with relief from the inside out — from our head down to our toes.
Head: According to the American Migraine Foundation, receiving at least six sessions of acupuncture once a week can significantly reduce the frequency of migraines. This is because acupuncture activates pathways in the brain that are responsible for turning off pain.
Nose: For those of us who suffer from allergies, spring can be a distressing season. Acupuncture can help make allergy-related immune cells less active — diminishing our reactions to things such as pollen, fur and other triggers. Receiving regular acupuncture treatments can improve symptoms and, in some cases, lead to smaller doses of allergy-relief medication.
Throat: Acid reflux and heartburn are uncomfortable. For many of us, stress or a dysfunctional emotional state can affect our digestion, specifically in the stomach. Acupuncture can reduce nerve irritation in the stomach and other organs, helping to relieve symptoms. Studies have shown that just 10 sessions over the course of a month can be effective when treating acid reflux and soothing heartburn, more so than increasing medication.
Heart: Acupuncture reduces markers of stress that can negatively affect heart function. Research has shown that needling specific acupuncture points improves overall blood flow. Moreover, the Journal of Chinese Medicine reported improvements in respiratory function associated with a decrease in heart rate.
Back: Acupuncture is well known for relieving pain. A study published in Archives of Internal Medicine found that acupuncture relieved pain by about 50%. As previously discussed, acupuncture influences pain pathways and affects the release of pain-reducing molecules and hormones. For this reason, it is highly effective in reducing upper and lower back pain.
Immune System: Traditional Chinese Medicine tells us that acupuncture strengthens our body’s ability to ward off diseases by gently piercing tiny needles at certain points. The trait that acupuncture elevates resistance is closely linked to our immune system. Research has found that consistent acupuncture treatments can enhance anti-cancer and anti-stress immune function, as well as deploy anti-inflammatory effects.
Menopause: In a case report on menopausal hot flashes, Oriental Medicine revealed that patients who received acupuncture treatments twice weekly (in combination with daily herbal preparations) experienced a significant decrease in frequency and intensity of hot flashes. Women continued to have minimal and manageable discomfort even after a six-month follow-up.
Mood: Acupuncture is a developing movement in treating mental disorders all over the globe. Part of this is due to the balancing and tranquil effect it has on our bodies. A study published in Medical Acupuncture states that in some cases, regular acupuncture treatments have reduced or even replaced drug therapy. The goal is to rectify the overall imbalance of that patient. To do this, a certified acupuncture practitioner selects a group of points that are unique for each patient and is based on individual signs and symptoms.
Sleep: It’s no secret that acupuncture has a unique ability to promote relaxation. Insomnia and other sleep disorders can be directly related to anxiety, stress and depression. That is why undergoing weekly acupuncture treatments can do wonders for our sleep patterns. Studies have concluded that true and individualized acupuncture can be effective in helping us fall asleep and stay asleep. Getting a good night’s rest can help prevent other health related issues as well.
Whether we are experiencing physical or emotional discomfort, incorporating acupuncture into our health regimen can be an extremely potent way to help diminish symptoms of our unrest. Harriet Beinfield and Efrem Korngold said it best in their book Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine:
The body is to nature as a violin is to an orchestra. The strings are to a violin as the organs are to the body. For the orchestra to play in harmony all the instruments must be tuned to each other. If a single instrument is out of tune, the whole sound is dissonance rather than harmony. –Beinfield and Korngold
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