Five Ways Acupuncture Can Support Whole Body Health in Houston
In the western world, and in Houston itself, acupuncture is emerging as a popular alternative or adjunct therapy for a variety of health conditions. This Chinese medicine staple dates back thousands of years, and practitioners believe that acupuncture can restore the proper flow of energy in the body – leading to better overall health.
When Chinese medicine practitioners treat a patient, the goal is to bring all of the body’s systems into balance. This approach stems from the philosophy that the body’s organ systems are interconnected and therefore affect each other’s function. By bringing these organs into balance with each other, practitioners can promote better overall bodily function.
This philosophy is also behind acupuncture, which can provide several health benefits to patients.
Your First Houston Acupuncture Treatment: What to Expect
During an acupuncture session the patient is examined and their health is assessed. Based on this examination, the acupuncturist will determine which acupuncture points to target during treatment.
Following the examination, the acupuncturist will lead the patient to a quiet treatment room, where they are allowed to lie down and get comfortable.
The acupuncturist will then lightly insert acupuncture needles into the skin – not deep enough to cause discomfort, but deep enough to stimulate nearby nerves. By activating these nerve pathways, acupuncturists believe that treatment stimulates the body into healing itself.
Once the needles are inserted, the acupuncturist will leave the room for up to 30 minutes and allow the patient to relax. It’s common for a practitioner to leave on gentle music and dim the lights to make the experience as pleasant and relaxing as possible.
In all, acupuncture treatment is fast, relaxing and has many health benefits. Here are five primary benefits of acupuncture:
1) Acupuncture is a Proven Form of Pain Management
Acupuncture’s efficacy in treating pain is well-proven, with dozens of studies confirming that the practice can reduce the severity and frequency of many types of pain. This includes back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, knee pain and hip pain. Acupuncture can help patients experiencing this pain on a chronic basis, or it can be used to address acute bouts of pain – which is often the case for people recovering from a strenuous workout.
In addition to the above, acupuncture can resolve some of the pain due to arthritis or fibromyalgia. In patients with chronic pain disorders like these, acupuncture can stimulate the body into releasing opioid-like chemicals that block pain signaling and help reduce inflammation. In addition to relieving pain, acupuncture treatment can improve joint and muscle stiffness – common secondary symptoms of fibromyalgia and arthritis.
2) Acupuncture Can Address a Variety of Headaches
Acupuncture’s pain-relieving effects aren’t limited to muscle and joint pain conditions. Treatment is also effective at reducing the prevalence and severity of a variety of headaches. This includes cluster headaches, tension headaches and migraines.
The American Migraine Foundation is among many medical organizations that has recommended acupuncture as a therapeutic option for pain – migraines in this case. Its recommendation was based on a meta-analysis of 22 clinical trials. This analysis included a patient population of 4,985 people, and the analysis found that regular acupuncture treatments could provide relief from migraines. Specifically, about 59 percent of the included patients experienced at least a 50 percent drop in migraines – and this effect was observed for at least six months.
At least in this one analysis, acupuncture was comparable (or superior) to preventative medication.
3) Acupuncture Treatments Can Relieve Menstrual Symptoms
Acupuncturists also utilize treatment to better regulate blood flow in the body. Unsurprisingly, the practice has been used to improve menstrual symptoms for centuries.
Acupuncture remains an effective option for reducing the pain, cramping, and stress related to menstruation. In fact, acupuncture is a proven therapeutic for dealing with post-menopausal symptoms as well, including hot flashes. In postmenopausal women with hot flashes, acupuncture has been shown to reduce the number of hot flashes and their duration. That’s according to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
4) Acupuncture Can Also Relieve Gastrointestinal Symptoms
The gastrointestinal system has an outsized effect on whole-body health. There are numerous GI conditions that can greatly impinge on quality of life, such as inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or chronic constipation/diarrhea.
These conditions are also difficult to treat, with drug and surgery options that don’t always provide relief.
Acupuncture has been used to resolve conditions like these for centuries, and it remains an effective option for patients looking for GI relief. Research into acupuncture proves that the practice can offer considerable stress relief to many. As stress is correlated with reduced GI function, acupuncture can set the stage for a more stable, less achy gut.
5) Acupuncture Can Reduce Stress and Boost Mental Health
As mentioned, acupuncture has proven stress relief effects, and these effects persist well after treatment ends.
Research shows that acupuncture stimulates the nervous system into releasing endorphins and other “feel-good” chemicals that support overall well-being. Further, acupuncture restores balance to hormone levels, reducing the presence of stress hormones like cortisol. In addition to these biological drivers, acupuncture can help people de-stress by providing a consistent, relaxing part of a person’s routine.
Acupuncture’s stress-relieving effects can help with anxiety and depression – making it a vital mental health tool, as well as a vital physical health tool.
Acupuncture is an Excellent Example of Chinese Medicine's Whole-body Health Philosophy
When Chinese medicine practitioners treat their patients, they consider their patient’s overall wellness – not just the state of a particular organ. Acupuncture is an excellent example of this treatment approach, as it’s designed to support overall health by encouraging the body to better regulate itself.
Pain reduction, hormone regulation, stress relief – Houston acupuncture treatments can support whole-body health in a variety of ways.