Whether it’s body pain, stress, or simply trying to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, people today are faced with many challenges when it comes to their health. Managing these issues is not easy, and people are turning to the ancient practice of acupuncture for relief.
What Is Acupuncture?
Originating in ancient China, acupuncture has served as a principal method of healing for thousands of years. Early practitioners believed that the flow of qi, or life energy, was responsible for the body’s health and that any interruption to the normal flow of this energy could create disease or pain. They devised a comprehensive “map” of the body displaying hundreds of points, known as meridians, where the flow of qi could be corrected through the insertion of tiny, hair-thin needles.
Western medicine has taken a more scientific approach to the art of acupuncture. They view the practice as a way to stimulate the body’s nerves, muscles, connective tissue, and pain receptors. The explanations for how acupuncture works don’t change the results that patients experienced from these treatments.
Today, the practice of acupuncture for health and wellness is used to relieve discomfort associated with a variety of diseases and conditions. The procedure is quickly becoming more and more common as people find the results immensely beneficial to their overall wellness. Let’s look at some of how it can help.
Acupuncture Treatments for Depression and Anxiety
Anxiety and depression remain two of the most common mental health disorders in the world. In addition to mental distress, they can also cause physical strains as the body can feel mental illness resulting in fatigue. Acupuncture is a great way to ease both types of symptoms.
Traditional Chinese medicine relates anxiety to an imbalance of the heart and kidney, so acupuncture on points around the heart, kidney, spleen, and ear are used to treat anxiety. Studies by CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics suggest that acupuncture is comparable to cognitive-behavioral therapy, which psychologists often use to treat anxiety.
As for depression, it’s considered to be a problem with circulating qi around your body, according to traditional Chinese beliefs. The main organ responsible for circulating qi is recognized as the liver, with the heart and spleen playing supporting roles. The most common acupuncture treatment used to increase the flow of qi is known as The Four Gates, which involves stimulating source points on both hands between the thumb and index finger and both feet between the big toe and second toe.
In one 2013 study, researchers found that electroacupuncture, a type of acupuncture that uses a mild electrical stimulation transmitted through the needles, was just as effective as fluoxetine (Prozac) in easing depression symptoms.
In addition to helping with specific conditions such as depression and anxiety, many people seek acupuncture to manage their general stress, so don’t hesitate to try it if you need to take some time out to help yourself refocus.
Acupuncture Helps With Migraine and Headache Relief
Migraines and headaches are common issues, but they can be debilitating when dealing with them regularly. When traditional medicine hasn’t helped ease migraine pain, many migraine sufferers decide to explore alternative treatment methods. Acupuncture-based health and wellness techniques can potentially help with headaches and neck pain relief.
The overarching belief for how acupuncture eases migraine pain is that it activates pathways in the brain responsible for turning pain off. When it comes to effectiveness, studies have supported the claim that acupuncture treatments of at least six treatment sessions can be a valuable option for people with migraines. It may also help with the frequency and intensity of migraines.
Acupuncture Helps With Body Aches and Pains
Many people think certain types of pain can only be managed through medication, but acupuncture can be an effective tool for relieving pain in targeted areas of the human body. At NJ Spine and Wellness, we encourage patients suffering from pain to use acupuncture for relief. We recommend using it in addition to chiropractic care to achieve better healing results. Here are a few of the ways it can help:
—Acupuncture can help manage pain and alter nerve function, making it an excellent complement to chiropractic adjustment.
—It can also help treat many conditions such as chronic neck and back pain.
—Acupuncture can help accelerate healing and relieve swelling and inflammation.
—It is even helpful as a preventative wellness technique for its ability to optimize the immune response and relax the body by relieving physical stress.
Some people seek out acupuncture for their health and wellness because they want to find a way to stop using certain medications. Make sure to speak with your doctor before stopping any medication or trying something new, especially if dealing with a chronic pain condition.
Acupuncture Can Be Used for Insomnia and Sleep Trouble
Sleep is essential for getting through your day, but many of us find thoughts swirling around our minds when it’s time to settle in for the night. For those who struggle with falling asleep, acupuncture can be used to help relax your mind and can potentially replace any sleeping pills or medications.
According to Sleep.org, “More research is needed to find out exactly how much acupuncture can help improve sleep, but it can help you feel more relaxed and less anxious, which may encourage you to fall asleep easier. Acupuncture has also been shown to help manage sleep apnea, perhaps because it strengthens the tongue and prevents it from dropping back during the night and blocking your airway.”
If people can feel more relaxed at night before bed, it can potentially have long-ranging effects on their general wellness. Sleep is essential to your general health and wellbeing, so if you struggle with insomnia, it’s worth trying acupuncture to see if it can help quiet your mind at night.
Acupuncture Can Help With Managing Food Cravings
Just like many other bad habits, food cravings are considered an addiction. When paired with a good nutritional plan, acupuncture can help to curb these food cravings, improving people’s overall weight-loss journeys. While acupuncture alone may not help with weight loss, a 2018 review of 27 clinical trials found that it showed promising results when paired with lifestyle modifications.
How Many Acupuncture Treatments Will I need?
Now that you know the general mechanics of how acupuncture works and what kind of pain it can help, your next question revolves around the treatment itself. What’s the magic number of treatments you will need before you see results? The answer is it varies.
Every person is different and responds to acupuncture differently compared to other patients. Different conditions also require more frequent sessions than others to begin seeing the beneficial effects. Chronic conditions can require a couple of treatments per week for several months forms the typical baseline recommendation, while acute problems usually require less frequent visits. It all depends on how you respond to the sessions and what kind of treatment plan you and your acupuncturist decide upon.
At NJ Spine and Wellness, our nutritional team believes in integrating healthy dietary habits into patients’ daily lifestyles for long-term effectiveness. Acupuncture can significantly complement the dietary modifications people are already making, as it can help slow the mind and get the body ready for change.
Try Acupuncture Treatment for Yourself
Most likely, getting acupuncture treatments alone will not be a cure-all for any of the issues mentioned above. Still, they can certainly be beneficial when done in tandem with other treatments. At NJ Spine and Wellness, we take a multidisciplinary approach to wellness and often recommend acupuncture in tandem with chiropractic care or physical therapy.
If you are interested in learning more about how acupuncture can help you with your wellness goals, we encourage you to contact NJ Spine and Wellness to speak with one of our licensed acupuncturists. Call us to make an appointment today or visit us online for details on specific hours.