How does acupuncture work?
When an acupuncture needle is placed in a specific location on your body a nerve sends a signal to your brain and then your brain responds by increasing blood circulation, hormones and immune cells to whatever part of the body that the needle has stimulated.
How this works is when a needle that is placed in your shin for example, will trigger a nerve to send a signal to your brain and then your brain will react by sending blood and immune cells to the area that was needled as well as the stomach. Thus, enhancing the function of your stomach by improving blood flow and immunity in that particular organ. Or a needle placed in a specific place in your shoulder joint will enhance the function of your thyroid and it will also improve the integrity of your shoulder joint. Or for example, a needle placed in the forearm will have a direct effect on the forearm as well as the large intestine.
Once the imbalances in your body are detected through listening to your pulse and looking at your tongue then specific acupuncture points are chosen to address those imbalances. The other thing that acupuncture does for the joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments is that is allows for greater blood circulation which will do four things:
- Decrease pain and scar tissue build up.
- Increase range of motion.
- Allows the soft tissue to heal.
- Resets the spindle cells in muscles that regulate relaxation and contraction so that the muscle will send a new nerve signal to the brain that it is not damaged and can therefor relax.
Acupuncture can also work at realigning your spine. This is done by locating proper points of spinal misalignment and needling into the specific acupuncture point that allows the spindle cell to relax and release the tension in the muscles along the spine then the bones will move into place on their own without force. (See Seitai Shinpo)
What can be treated with acupuncture?
Acupuncture has been used to effectively treat numerous health conditions for thousands of years. According to the World Health Organization, ¼ of the earth’s population receives acupuncture treatment on a continual basis. Both the WHO and the National Institutes of Health endorse acupuncture for many common problems including:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Chronic Fatigue
- Common cold
- Digestive issues
- Emotional issues
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Low back pain
- Menstrual irregularities
- Shoulder pain
- Tennis/Golf elbow
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Urinary tract infections
Do the needles hurt?
Acupuncture needles are engineered so precisely that usually a very mild sensation is felt, if any at all. The needles are about the diameter of a hair. Most patients report feeling deeply relaxed and often have instant pain relief.
How safe is acupuncture?
There are very few adverse reactions to acupuncture but in some cases your condition may temporarily exacerbated following the treatment. This is a sign of detoxification and is considered to be a good thing. Soaking your feet in Epsom salts and hot water and getting in plenty of fluids and nutrition will ease the process.