Acupuncture is all the rage right now. Interestingly, this treatment is not new. It is difficult to determine exactly how old it is, but many experts believe it is about 2,000 years old, a critical component of ancient traditional Chinese medicine. Americans started using it in the early 1970s. Since then, its popularity has been growing.
Acupuncture is inserting hair-thin, solid, metallic needles through the skin. The aim is to stimulate specific points in the body. Practitioners insert them at strategic depths and locations to treat various health issues.
Traditional Chinese healers believed the human body has thousands of acupoints. Meridians or pathways connect these points as vital energy (chi or qi) flows through the body. This energy is essential to one's health, so a disruption in the energy flow can lead to illness. Practitioners believe that inserting needles at specific points can help improve the flow of chi.
Most people seek this treatment for the relief of chronic pain. Practitioners believe that this form of TCM helps heal other conditions, such as:
According to practitioners, acupuncture helps balance the body's chi. This energy flows from the organs to the body's surface at specific points known as acupoints. Pathways, or meridians, connect your internal organs to these external points.
Acupuncturists stimulate specific acupoints to balance the chi. Doing so helps regulate various bodily functions, including blood pressure. Scientific studies are yet to determine exactly how this form of therapy works. However, practitioners believe that stimulating specific points in the body may act on the central nervous system. That can influence blood flow and the way the body produces certain hormones.
This treatment may help regulate blood pressure by changing how the enzymes and hormones in the RAAS show up in the blood. It may also stimulate receptors in the body responsible for regulating blood pressure.
Western medicine does not recognize the concepts of meridians and chi. However, there may be alternate scientific explanations for how acupuncture can relieve pain. Research suggests several physiological mechanisms occur when you insert a needle into the body.
These hair-thin needles can set off several events. These events send signals to the brain via the spinal cord. These trigger a release of enkephalins and endorphins, which experts believe reduce the pain sensation. Research also suggests that a well-placed needle can trigger cortisol production, helping control inflammation.
This treatment may help improve the following:
Relax tight muscles
Regulate the nervous system to relieve pain
Studies suggest that it is an effective way to treat sciatica. It provides a nonsurgical, safe treatment option without the side effects of pain medications and muscle relaxers.
Recent scientific studies suggest that this treatment can reduce the frequency of headaches in people who suffer from migraines. The effect is like preventive medication, according to clinical trials. The frequency of headaches dropped by 50 percent or more in almost 60 percent of individuals receiving therapy. Furthermore, this positive effect can persist for more than six months.
Treating inflammation and chronic pain with traditional Chinese medicine goes back many centuries. Nowadays, practitioners use it to reduce inflammation and improve blood flow to relieve pain and aid healing.
For more on acupuncture, visit Healistic Chiropractic and Acupuncture at our Lafayette, Indiana office. Call (765) 227-2454 to schedule an appointment today.