Acupuncture is one of those things people either swear by or are skeptical about. For example, while I personally wouldn’t think lying on a table while someone sticks needles into my skin would be all that relaxing, evidently, one of the most common reasons to try acupuncture is stress relief. This is because the prick of an acupuncture needle isn’t painful — it’s methodical and holistic. Like a masseuse, an acupuncturist knows exactly how to perform depending on your individual needs. And while anxiety is definitely one incentive to give acupuncture a chance, there are a handful of physical as well as psychological benefits to the treatment, too.
According to Irina Logman L.Ac, MSTOM, CEO and founder of Advanced Holistic Center , acupuncture is believed to have stemmed from Chinese practices dating back to as early as 100 BCE. In an exclusive interview with Elite Daily, Logman clarifies that the needles used in these techniques are not like the cringeworthy instruments you’ll find at a doctor’s office. On the contrary, these stainless steel needles are single-use and hair thin. Depending on the type of treatment you’re looking for, acupuncture can be gentle or intense, and depending on your plan, it’s sometimes covered by health insurance.
So what does acupuncture do ? Because it stimulates neurotransmitters in the brain, increasing serotonin and epinephrine levels — aka all the feel-good hormones — Logman says this kind of extreme state of relaxation leads to "a reduction in overall stress and anxiety." In other words, it promotes a chill mind and, therefore, a chill body to follow.
Intrigued? I thought you might be. It just goes to show that while anxiety relief might be the hype surrounding acupuncture treatments, the ages-old practice boasts more than calm nerves. Here are a few of the most common reasons to try acupuncture. 1. Acupuncture Can Help Ease Your Anxiety
Is your mind constantly buzzing with thoughts? Are these bottled up emotions starting to spill into your physical body and cause tension? Acupuncture can help by reversing the effects. In other words, by calming the physical response to your nerves, acupuncture also encourages the mind to take pause and collect itself again.
When you’re stressed, your body gets stuck on the negative emotions — anxiety, anger, and sadness. As a result, Logman tells Elite Daily, your body tenses up, causing a kind of stagnation. Through acupuncture, you create "little micro-traumas with the needles" in order "to remind the body to heal itself and keep a healthy flow of energy throughout the body," she continues. "This free flow is important for the treatment of pain as well as flow of emotions," Logman says. 2. It’s Also A Natural Pain Reliever
Acupuncture is a form of alternative, albeit holistic medicine. In other words, it’s all-natural — unlike over-the-counter medicine — and gets to the root cause of the issue.
Founder of Yinova , Dr. Jill Blakeway tells Elite Daily that acupuncture needles can be used in different ways to respond to a variety of needs. The goal is to treat acupuncture points throughout the body, she says, prompting a release of endorphins — aka, the body’s own painkillers.
"As an acupuncturist, if someone has sciatica, I needle along the course of the sciatic nerve, interrupting its signal — which could be called the gate theory of pain relief," Blakeway explains via email. "But I might also choose to place the needles directly into a muscle spasm to release the knots, which is more of a mechanical intervention similar in outcome to massage." 3. Acupuncture Can Improve Your Immune System
Are you prone to catching colds, or are always feeling under the weather in some way, shape, or form? If you’ve tried every combination of over-the-counter meds and prescriptions alike, you might want to consider popping into your nearest acupuncturist for natural relief.
During our chat, Blakeway tells me the tiny, painless wounds caused by acupuncture needles actually ramp up your immune system by jump-starting the healing process. Think of it as a gentle nudge to the body, steering your insides in the right and healthy direction.
"Specifically, the prick of the needle sends a message to the body that causes inflammatory proteins and other infection- fighting, would-be healing chemicals to flood the site of the injury, revving the immune system to deal with any bigger problems as well,” she explains. 4. Acupuncture Can Improve Your Overall Sleep Quality
There are two major ways acupuncture can encourage a good night’s sleep. First, Blakeway tells Elite Daily, for sleep disorders such as insomnia, acupuncture gets to the root of the problem — be it hormonal, digestive, psychological, or neurological. Rather than just prescribing an herbal sleep aid, an acupuncturist works with the patient to identify the root cause, and treat it.
Second, Ani Baran, L.Ac of New Jersey Acupuncture Center , adds that acupuncture has been proven to increase the body’s natural melatonin production at night, helping you sleep longer and more restfully throughout the night.
"Addressing the mind and body misfires that are happening and rehabilitating the connection by properly restarting the flow of energy will make for a calmer, more rested person overall," Baran tells Elite Daily over email. "[Acupuncture] is known to help promote peaceful sleep and also helps with headaches and emotional issues (which may be keeping you up!)" 5. Many Women Receive Acupuncture Treatments To Ease PMS
Cramps, headaches, backaches — if you have a uterus, then you’re probably all too familiar with these common PMS symptoms. Unfortunately, your menstrual cycle probably fires these babies up every month. Fortunately, acupuncture can ease the pain.
"[Acupuncture] can help to promote a sense of calm for those struggling with PMS or mood imbalances during their cycle," Baran tells Elite Daily. In fact, she says, many women receive acupuncture not only during their period, but through all phases of their cycle, during pregnancy, fertility treatments, and some even seek treatments to help them cope with endometriosis. 6. Acupuncture Can Also Improve Your Digestive System
Acupuncture has been known to improve your digestive system in a myriad of ways by focusing on and healing the gut. Baran tells Elite Daily it all comes back to balancing and restoring what she refers to as your Qi, or flow of energy.
"If your digestive fire is slow or ineffective, or your brain is sending the wrong signals to your system, that is where many of these issues arise," Baran explains. "Acupuncture can help restore proper flow reigniting the fire, so to speak, to help the brain and belly work together again harmoniously." In other words, by actively working to reduce inflammation in the body, acupuncture offers pain relief to any of the other symptoms you might be feeling as well.
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