Houston Acupuncture for Hematological and Blood Health
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, more than 3 million Americans suffer from anemia – making it the most common blood disorder in the country. It’s only one among many hematological disorders, too, so it’s fair to say that blood disorders are widespread. Some of those malignancies include:
In addition to the above, chronic fatigue, anxiety and depression can also influence the blood’s quality and volume. For Chinese medicine practitioners, supporting the patient’s blood health is a critical objective.
Acupuncture is a vital tool in this regard and can be used to treat a large variety of hematological disorders. Treatment is aimed at fortifying the organs that bolster the blood and at improving circulatory efficiency.
In Chinese medicine, qi and the blood are closely linked
Among Chinese medicine practitioners, the blood is responsible for carrying the body’s qi, or life energy. Blood and qi are not one and the same, but are tightly linked elements of whole body health. In this context, you can think of qi like electricity and the circulatory pathways as electrical wires – qi moves in the blood and is delivered to organs around the body, but it’s distinct from the cables that ferry it around.
Given the blood’s critical role in transporting life-giving qi, maintaining hematological health is essential for maintaining whole-body health. In Chinese medicine, if blood-related issues are present, it’s usually due to one of the following reasons:
- Overworking or overtaxing the body. This may manifest following a strenuous workout, for example, or after an extended period of elevated activity.
- Acute or ongoing blood loss due to unregulated menstruation, an injury, childbirth or anemia.
- Nutritional deficiencies due to poor diet, poor eating habits or due to medication. Many drugs interfere with the body’s ability to uptake nutrition, but whatever the cause behind nutritional deficiencies, it can burn up nutritional reserves and leave the body ill-suited to maintaining blood quality.
- Genetic risk factors, such as those responsible for sickle-cell anemia.
There can be many causes behind hematological abnormalities, but no matter the cause, acupuncture can support better blood health.
Acupuncture Is An Adjunct Therapy For Many Hematological Malignancies
Acupuncture is a Chinese medicine staple and has been used in hundreds of medical conditions for hundreds of years. This includes blood-related conditions like anemia and poor circulation.
Both Chinese and western physicians have offered several theories as to why acupuncture is efficacious in so many conditions. They include:
- Beneficially stimulating the nervous system – Upon insertion, acupuncture needles interface with nearby nervous tissue, stimulating them and encouraging the body to engage in its own self-healing and self-regulatory mechanisms.
During nervous stimulation, the body responds by releasing endorphins, peptides and other beneficial compounds, like Substance P. Together, these compounds better regulate circulatory activity in the body and improve its function.
- Balancing hormone levels – Hormone levels can greatly influence how some hematological conditions are expressed – menorrhagia foremost among them. Bringing these hormones back into balance is key to reducing overly intense blood flow.
Acupuncture is a known hormone regulator. In a meta-analysis that considered 31 randomized trials (and 2,433 patients), acupuncture treatments were shown to bring three types of hormones back into balance. This included estrogen and follicle-stimulating hormone, both of which impact hematological performance.
- Releasing stagnant energy in the blood – Acupuncturists sometimes refer to blood or qi stagnation in their patients. In effect, this means the body’s circulatory mechanisms aren’t sufficient to transport the body’s energy, resulting in qi collecting (or stagnating) in spots. Qi stagnation can have a variety of symptoms, depending on which organs are affected. When the circulatory system harbors excess qi, it can manifest as heart palpitations, chest pains, fatigue and more.
Acupuncture is designed to release this stagnated qi through stimulation, resolving the above symptoms and restoring better circulatory performance.
- Improving circulatory response – Research also shows that acupuncture has a direct positive impact on the circulatory system. In a peer-reviewed study published in Circulation, patients presenting with elevated blood pressure were given several weeks of acupuncture treatment. Following treatment, the study’s participants experienced a drop in blood pressure that persisted as long as acupuncture treatment did.
- Boosting gastrointestinal performance – The blood requires significant nutritional upkeep to maintain its quality and quantity. Iron, for example, is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin and healthy red blood cells.
As such, gastrointestinal efficiency is an important consideration. If the GI organs are able to do their job without causing discomfort, it’s easier for the patient to stay on a consistent eating pattern that delivers sufficient nutrition.
Acupuncture is able to support GI function in this way, mainly by regulating communication on the gut-brain axis. By modulating communication in this way, digestion stays on track and any GI-related discomfort can be minimized. The effect is better digestion and additional nutrients to support the blood.
When Administered By A Licensed Practitioner, Acupuncture Is Safe For Most Patients
Acupuncture is a well-known modality for anemia and other hematological conditions, but it’s still a new concept to many Americans (and Houstonians). Pictures of patients receiving treatment may drive needle-based anxiety in people, but it’s worth remembering that acupuncture needles are extremely thin – only the width of a human hair. As such, acupuncture needles do not cause pain or discomfort during insertion – as long as they’re placed by a licensed practitioner.
Minimal pain and discomfort is one reason to work with a licensed acupuncturist, but it’s not the only one. Licensed practitioners know what acupuncture points to target during a session, so they can deliver more effective treatment. Further, licensed acupuncturists are also trained in proper needle sanitation, which minimizes the risk of infection.
For patients with hematological conditions, effective, sanitary treatment is a must. To ensure your acupuncture is delivered with these priorities in mind, it’s highly recommended that Houstonians seek out a Houston practice that’s certified through the Texas State Board of Acupuncture Examiners. This regulatory body is the primary oversight agency in Texas and is therefore the ultimate authority on which acupuncturists are approved to provide treatment. By working with a certified acupuncture practitioner, you’ll have access to the best version of acupuncture possible in the Bayou City.