Acupuncture had been practised for thousands and thousands of years over time, perfecting and refining the techniques used. Extensively studied, acupuncture has shown significant results for those with ongoing health issues or problems. Although some still remain sceptical, there are some ways acupuncture could benefit your health that might be worth trying. I’ve personally found acupuncture to work wonders for my ongoing back problems. While it might not work for everyone here are some of the ways acupuncture could help you…
For a lot of people, becoming healthier and losing weight is the main priority for their health. Acupuncture is no miracle cure that can help an individual lose weight if they are still eating excess calories and not exercising. However, people easily fall into patterns and their bodies follow. This could prove to be difficult when trying to lose weight for health reasons. Some people may find that excess weight may have underlying issues such as an energy imbalance. Consumption of sugars and highly refined foods and drink can lead to fatigue, with the reliance on these same caffeinated foods and drinks making it hard to break the cycle. Acupuncture could help break this cycle for some people and give your body an energy boost allowing you to tackle unhealthy eating and a lack of exercising. Acupuncture might also help with the body’s aches and pains, so if a joint or muscle pain is preventing you from exercising, acupuncture could alleviate the issue!
Irritable bowel syndrome
Individuals with irregular systems may be looking for treatments which can increase their well-being and reduce symptoms. Irritable bowel syndrome is an intestinal disorder with symptoms ranging from cramping to flatulence, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea and nausea. Many people suffer from IBS whether it be mild or severe, with most cases causing discomfort and embarrassment for the individual suffering. As of yet, there is no cure for IBS, however, Chinese Medicine believes that IBS represents an imbalance between the liver and the spleen. Practitioners believe that if the liver is not working effectively, the digestive system is disrupted, causing IBS symptoms. Practitioners also believe acupuncture can restore the liver and spleen harmony and reduce uncomfortable symptoms. This is not to say that only sufferers from IBS will benefit from acupuncture, anyone wanting to feel more regular and lighter may find it helpful!
Low mood is something that affects many people and can often be overlooked and ignored but can lead to a range of unhealthy habits such as binge-eating, excess drinking and smoking. However, instead of suffering in silence it may be worth looking to get an acupuncture treatment. By inserting the needles into a specific point of the body, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system and cause the release of neurochemical messenger molecules, altering the brain’s mood chemistry and increasing the production of serotonin and endorphins and stimulating neurochemicals dopamine, noradrenaline and cortisol. Acupuncture can, for some, help the release of the hormones that keep our mood high and give us bursts of pleasure. This may be the pick-me-up you need if you are suffering from low mood!
Many people do not get the recommended amount of sleep per day. With the increased use of technology, it is getting harder for people to switch off (mind the pun) and relax before going to sleep. Sleep provides vital health benefits such as kerbing inflammation that can be linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and arthritis, it can also help maintain a healthy weight as sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same sectors of the brain. In those who suffer for problematic sleep patterns, often the brain refuses to shut down at night. This causes sleeping problems and decreased energy, leaving the person to feel physically exhausted. Along with help from the patient (such as making an effort to sleep earlier) acupuncture has been shown to relax some individuals and break their sleeping pattern so that they can sleep earlier and for longer.
Tension-type headaches are very common nowadays with a lot of people sitting at a desk staring at a screen all day. This kind of a headache can be mild but can last hours or come in bursts. Although many people treat headaches with over the counter medication such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, these kinds of medications can become ineffective over a long period of time. If you are someone that suffers from headaches, acupuncture could provide a much-needed health benefit, increasing your overall sense of well-being.
Up to half a million people in the UK experience work-related stress every year which often results in illness with many people suffering from increased levels of anxiety as a result of stress. Stress can also be responsible for other conditions such as IBS, headache, menopausal symptoms so may be the underlying cause of your health problem. By deactivating the ‘analytic brain’ and stimulating a production of endogenous opioids that effect the autonomic nervous system, acupuncture can activate the parasympathetic nervous system that brings down the body from the sympathetic nervous system or ‘flight or fight’ mode that keeps your body on edge. The increased levels of endorphins and serotonin can increase your mood helping to combat the feeling of stress.
As I mentioned at the start of this article, I’ve personally found acupuncture to be a very successful alternative treatment for back pain which I’ve suffered from for years due to an old dance injury. Although the outcome differs from person to person it’s definitely worth considering if you feel you’re running out of options and don’t want to keep popping the pills. This was my personal area of concern, I knew it wasn’t healthy to be living off Ibuprofen so I knew I had to investigate alternative treatments.
I would also like to note that my acupuncturist is also a fully qualified medical doctor, and is, therefore, able to offer a more informed approach drawing on experience as both a doctor and acupuncturist. I would highly recommend finding a practitioner with similar qualifications to anyone who is struggling with back/joint pain and is considering acupuncture.
As always, please consult your GP or healthcare professional before starting any new alternative medicine or treatment.
What are your thoughts on acupuncture? Have you tried it before, did you have success?