An Introduction to
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing technique that has grown to wide acceptance in the West.
By using special needles, acupuncture unblocks chi (energy) throughout the body. Additionally, practitioners often recommend herbal therapies and lifestyle changes to complement wellness.
The importance of acupuncture is that it offers a less chemically oriented or invasive approach to healing. Many studies indicate many illnesses for which acupuncture is indicated as a healing alternative. Acupuncture may stimulate the production of the body's natural healing agents, endorphins.
Some of the many benefits of acupuncture may include pain relief for back problems, migraine headaches and neck pain, postoperative nausea, chemotherapy side effects, osteoarthritis, low-back pain, menstrual cramps, addiction, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma, just to name a few.
Acupuncture is also used to help people stop smoking, aide in depression and anxiety, and chronic fatigue syndrome, and an important effect is that patients often find that they rely less or not at all upon pharmaceutical treatments, and they often find increased energy, diminished stress and a general sense of balance.
Both acupuncture and massage impact the immune system in that massage reduces the level of the stress hormone cortisol that damages and kills immune system cells.
Additionally, American Acupuncture claims the immune system and the nervous system are linked. When the body feels pain, or when pain is taken away, the nervous system responds either positively or negatively by stimulating the release of other chemicals. When a person relaxes or pain is diverted through massage or acupuncture, stress hormones decrease while pleasure hormones increase, giving the immune system a boost.
Massage ad acupuncture may be useful for relieving pain in a large number of conditions ranging anywhere from a sprained ankle to headaches or asthma. Since the immune system and the nervous system are intertwined, when the immune system attacks invaders, the result is inflammation and pain. By boosting the immune system, massage and acupuncture reduce this inflammation and discomfort.
The Mayo Clinic reports that professionals already use massage to relieve pain and stiffness with good clinical results. For this reason, some insurance companies now cover alternative therapies like acupuncture and massage, and more Western doctors are accepting these Eastern methods as viable medical techniques.
Acupuncture is recognized by the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization.