A key part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for over 2,000 years, acupuncture has recently gained traction in the Western world. Many people remain skeptical of its use, but a growing body of evidence shows its success. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognize its value in certain medical applications. Here are 5 surprising health benefits of this ancient remedy.
What Is Acupuncture?
Needling is the core of acupuncture treatment. Thin, sterile, disposable needles are inserted into the skin at key points. Eastern thought claims that this unblocks the flow of Qi, the vital life force that can become stuck due to illness, injury, and the stress of daily life. Western medicine rejects the concept of Qi, but focuses instead on chemical changes in the brain. Related treatments include cupping, moxibustion, and even Tai Chi. Regardless of exactly how it works, research shows that acupuncture has some dramatic health benefits.
1. Healing from Injuries
Acupuncture can speed healing from both acute injuries such as sprains and chronic injuries such as tennis elbow in four key ways. It eases pain, invokes the body’s natural healing responses, encourages deep relaxation, and boosts the immune system. Ask your doctor about adding acupuncture to your post-injury recovery plan.
2. Workout Improvement
Acupuncture can improve your workouts in several ways. Relaxing the muscles allows them to recover more quickly and easily. Relieving post-workout pain helps you feel like doing more the next day. It also boosts the rush of natural feel-good chemicals known as endorphins that accompany a workout, helping to cement a link in your brain between working out and feeling good. The boost that acupuncture provides can actually help you take your workouts to the next level.
3. Illness Management
In tandem with Western medicine, acupuncture can help to manage a wide range of both acute and chronic illnesses. It boosts the immune system, improving treatment results and minimizing recovery times. Its anti-inflammatory effects can also help with the management of conditions ranging from asthma to arthritis. It can even help ease the suffering of those with complex pain conditions such as fibromyalgia. Talk to your doctor about adding acupuncture to your overall treatment plan.
4. Stress Reduction and Mental Health Relief
Today’s society is so overscheduled and overworked that depression, anxiety, and stress disorders are incredibly common. Acupuncture can help rebalance the brain chemistry, encourage deep relaxation, and avoid the side effects of Western medication. It can reduce or eliminate stress-related migraines, and can ease the severity and duration of both simple and complex headaches.
5. Fertility and Pregnancy Support
When paired with in vitro fertilization (IVF), fertility acupuncture boasts incredible success rates. Acupuncturists treat both partners in a holistic way that also incorporates herbal remedies, lifestyle support, and nutritional counseling.
When pregnancy is achieved, many Western doctors advise continuing with acupuncture through the critical first 12 weeks. This is when most miscarriages occur, and acupuncture can dramatically reduce the risk of miscarriage. It can also help reduce the side effects of pregnancy, from morning sickness to muscle pain, and it can even help ready the body for delivery and turn breech babies.
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To learn more about Santa Cruz CORE’s full line of health and wellness services or schedule an appointment, contact us today at 831-425-9500 (Santa Cruz) or 831-426-0608 (Watsonville).