Acupuncture: How it Works and the Various Benefits

Last updated August 22, 2023

Acupuncture is a type of treatment that includes inserting very thin needles into a person’s skin at various depths at particular places on the body. According to research, it can help reduce pain, and it is used to treat a variety of other ailments.

However, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) states that there is limited evidence for its efficacy in areas other than pain. It’s still unknown how acupuncture works in terms of science. 

Some believe it works by harmonizing vital energy, while others say it works through a neurological function. That said, acupuncture is still debatable among Western doctors and scientists.

Let’s take a look at acupuncture in detail. 

What is Acupuncture? 

Acupuncture is a treatment that stimulates specific places in the body by inserting very thin steel needles into the skin. The purpose is to alleviate a symptom or health condition, such as pain. The method is based on traditional Chinese medicine. For various cases, scientific research has verified its efficacy.

At various “acupoints,” an acupuncturist inserts very thin steel needles into the patient’s skin. The needles restore the body’s energy, or qi, and cause natural chemicals to be released to combat the ailment or symptom.

Understanding the Philosophy of Acupuncture

Because acupuncture isn’t usually founded in science or medicine, the Chinese philosophy underlying it is a little more complicated. They believed that the human body was filled with and animated by an unseen life-giving force known as qi (pronounced ‘chee’), and that when the qi was flowing freely and traveling to all of the correct locations, a person would have good mental and physical health. When the qi flowed wrongly (blocked or deficient), sickness would occur.

The concept of qi isn’t that strange—consider it as the inherent inner workings of your body. When you’re stressed or anxious, you’re more likely to get sick. Your body physically reflects your state of mind when you’re relaxed and healthy. 

After all, your physical health is influenced by your mood, mental health, and general well-being. As a result, acupuncture and spa treatment aims to help people achieve qi balance and, as a result, give alleviation for a variety of diseases.

How Acupuncture Works

Qi is thought to flow through the human body’s meridians, or passageways. There are 350 acupuncture sites on the body that provide access to these meridians and energy pathways. The energy flow is supposed to be rebalanced by inserting needles into these spots in the appropriate combinations.

There is no scientific confirmation that the meridians of acupuncture points exist, and it’s difficult to establish that they do or don’t, but multiple studies suggest that acupuncture can help with a variety of ailments. Acupuncture has been explained using neuroscience by some experts. 

Acupuncture points are thought to be stimulation locations for nerves, muscles and connective tissue. The stimulation boosts blood flow while also stimulating the body’s natural painkillers to activate.

Because of the intrusive nature of acupuncture, it is difficult to set up studies with sufficient scientific controls. For outcomes to be compared with those of actual acupuncture, a control group would have to receive sham treatment, or a placebo, in a clinical research. 

Some studies have found that acupuncture and meditation provides patients with similar advantages to a placebo, while others have found that there are some significant benefits.

Benefits of Acupuncture

The health advantages of acupuncture differ from person to person. It’s important to remember that you may need multiple acupuncture sessions before you see any results.

Acupuncture boosts your body’s natural melatonin production. When this hormone is present in perfect amounts, it regulates your sleep-wake cycles. Due to our modern lifestyle and poor sleeping habits, it is often underproduced today, resulting in insomnia, frequent night awakenings and persistent weariness. 

If this continues for a long time, it will create a breeding ground for future health problems. Acupuncture can assist you in regaining your natural ability to fall asleep easily and stay asleep.

Pain in Joints and Bones

Acupuncture may be able to improve the physical function of the knee in persons with knee osteoarthritis in the short and long term, according to several studies and research.

This condition causes the connective tissue in the knee to break down. Acupuncture was also found to be useful in lowering knee pain in those with osteoarthritis of the knee, although only for a limited period of time.

Keeps the Blood Pressure in Check 

Rising blood pressure is a problem in today’s environment, especially with high-stress employment and rising obesity rates. Regular acupuncture sessions, when used in conjunction with traditional cardiovascular therapy, can assist to decrease blood pressure. The approach promotes proper heart function and blood flow, and it can be more effective than medication at lowering blood pressure.

Improves Fertility

Acupuncture helps to promote our reproductive systems and the proper synthesis of male and female hormones, making it a viable choice for infertile couples. Acupuncture can help a pregnancy progress smoothly, and it can even assist the child’s position in the uterus be adjusted for a natural, problem-free birth, while also safeguarding the mother’s fertility and physical reproductive health.

Provides a Certain Sense of Energy

Whether you need a physical or mental energy boost to combat exhaustion, acupuncture can help you overcome lethargy or brain fog. By fully balancing the body’s energy environment, an optimal set-point can be achieved and all organs can function appropriately. 

As a result, you may experience a sense of calm, allowing you to sleep better and become pain-free. Stimulating the appropriate cerebral circuits results in increased physical stamina and the ability to think clearly and creatively.

Improves Digestion

By promoting the healthy functioning of the digestive system and its organs, as well as the rebalancing of potentially flawed energy fields, acupuncture has the potential to cure virtually all digestive disorders. While many people are tempted to diet, we believe it is not a long-term solution.

Acupuncture can help with acute gastrointestinal problems as well as severe symptoms of long-term, untreated conditions such gallstones, Crohn’s disease and inflammatory bowel disease.

Final Takeaway

Acupuncture can help with a wide range of issues, including depression, pain, inflammatory illnesses, stress and skin look. Keep in mind, however, that acupuncture might cause mild to severe side effects in some people. 

Acupuncture sessions can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, with the needles in for roughly 20 minutes. While the needles are implanted, some people may experience discomfort or pressure, while others may experience distinct feelings.

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