What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture treatment involves the insertion of very thin, sterile, single use needles into specifically selected acupuncture points on the body. The needles are most often inserted in points located on the arm below the elbow and on the leg below the knee. However, points on the back, abdomen, scalp, and ear may also be needled depending on your individual needs.
These needles stimulate the movement of Qi (energy) and blood throughout the body, resulting in increased circulation, decreased inflammation, and overall improved functioning of the entire body. Regular acupuncture treatment can restore the body to a balanced state of health and wellness.
The mechanisms by which acupuncture works on the body have been studied by many scientific organizations. The results of these studies consistently show that acupuncture works by:
- Increasing circulation: Impaired circulation can stem from the natural effects of aging, a sedentary lifestyle, and traumatic physical injury. Often, poor circulation is the root of painful conditions as well as slow healing, and is thought to be an underlying pre-condition for the development of fibroids, scar tissue, and cancerous tumors. By increasing blood flow, acupuncture directly aids the body in bringing healing agents to injured tissue and breaks through areas of stasis to promote proper circulatory function.
- Stimulating the body’s mechanism for self-healing: The human body is wonderfully equipped to repair damaged tissue, prevent disease, and resolve injury. Acupuncture stimulates these healing processes in the body by activating responses from the nervous system, promoting the release of antibodies and analgesics, and stimulating immune response.
- Promoting the release of natural painkillers: Our brains respond to pain by releasing certain chemicals and neurotransmitters that reduce or even eliminate pain felt by the body. In fact, some of these bio-chemicals are up to 200 times more powerful than morphine! Acupuncture is thought to stimulate the release of endorphins, norepinephrine, and encephalin, all of which eliminate the effects of pain in the body.
- Reducing the effects of chronic pain: Acupuncture can interrupt the body’s inflammatory response to chronically painful conditions and can actually reduce the perception of the intensity of chronic pain.
- Reducing levels of stress: Stress plays a role in both disease and pain, so reducing stress is a key way in which acupuncture promotes health and wellness. Recent research indicates that the hormone oxytocin is released during acupuncture. Oxytocin is the “love” hormone and it can shift the body from the high stress “flight, fright, or freeze” sympathetic nervous system mode and into the more relaxed “rest and digest/calm and connect” parasympathetic nervous system mode.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture is derived from a 3,000-year-old form of Chinese medicine. It was believed that when someone’s life energy, or qi, is blocked, they experience pain and a myriad of other symptoms. The thin needles inserted into the acupuncture points helped to re-establish the energy flow within the human body.
There are several theories about how acupuncture functions in the body. Some attribute its success to the needle’s ability to stimulate specific nerves, which in turn signal to the brain to release hormones such as beta-endorphins. These hormones increase your endorphins and happiness while they decrease the amount of pain you experience. Another theory credits the reduction of proteins with the acupuncture’s effectiveness; as the number of proteins decrease, the amount of inflammation and pain goes down as well.
Many people may be hesitant to seek the assistance of an acupuncture Gainesville, FL professional, but there is nothing to fear. The effects of each acupuncture session vary from patient to patient. Some patients experience significant relief after just one appointment. For chronic or severe conditions, you may need to receive treatment one or two times a week for a few months. Your acupuncture specialist will be able to help determine a treatment plan after a meeting with you to assess your individual needs.
Benefits of Acupuncture
Thanks to acupuncture, Gainesville residents have found a holistic alternative to Western treatments for a variety of diseases and afflictions.