Acupuncture. It’s been around for centuries. This therapeutic technique of Traditional Chinese Medicine for treating disease has been shown over the years to help with a variety of conditions by inserting fine needles into specific points of the body. Conditions it may help include:
· Chronic Low back, Neck Pain
· Headaches (both migrane and tension)
· Knee/Hip Osteoarthritis
But what is it? And how does that fine single-use sterile needle help reduce my symptoms?
Let’s dive deeper. The basis for classical understanding of acupuncture’s effect is Taoism, an ancient philosophy which has, as its first principle, the concept of Yin and Yang. Taoists believe that these equal and opposite forces co-exist in the universe and must be in balance for harmony to prevail. Illness is thought to result from an imbalance in Yin and Yang in the body and the objective of acupuncture was to restore a balance of Yin and Yang and therefore restore health.
Acupuncture can have profound effects on both the central/peripheral nervous systems. There is also evidence supporting an increase in the release of endorphins, which help with pain control. Research also has looked at its role in stimulation for digestion (your gut microbacteria have major roles in digestion, energy production and ultimately whole body detoxification), circulation and immune function. All of which will allow the body to regain a state of positive health.
1. Pain Control
When the acupuncture needle is inserted, there is a physical stimulation. This causes the human body to generate an impulse that travels through your body’s nervous system. This can cause a release of different neurotransmitters and hormones that are ultimately involved in controlling your pain. This is how acupuncture can effectively help in controlling pain without some of the harmful side effects of conventional methods of pain control.
2. Anti-inflammatory effects
Acupuncture treatments can have effects on the follow features of inflammation by stimulating multiple anti-inflammatory mechanisms in the body.
Ø Reduce swelling/redness
Ø Relief of pain
Ø Normalize tissue temperature
Ø Restore physical function
3. Effects on the Autonomic Nervous System
Your autonomic nervous system involves an interaction between certain biochemicals, and helps create a balance in your body, which is essential for maintaining your health. Acupuncture helps the turnover rate of these biochemicals, ultimately helping your body stay in balance.
It is commonly noted that acupuncture aids in regeneration and healing. EMG studies have shown that acupuncture can help recovery from peripheral nerve injuries, even when the nerve and muscle are partially disconnected.
Travis Gaudet MScPT., BScKin., cGIMS., CAFCI., CFST-1