Did you know there are hundreds of acupuncture meridians around the body? Each meridian has its own use and purpose in acupuncture therapy treatments. These meridians fall into biological points around the body.
As acupuncturists in Edmonton ourselves, we see firsthand the impact that acupuncture has on re-establishing the mind-body connection, and see how this modality works to treat everything from anxiety to chronic pain.
In this guide, we’ll cover exactly what acupuncture is and how it works to relieve pain within the body.
What is Acupuncture
Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine used to relieve pain, stress, and tension. During a session, the acupuncturist inserts thin, sterile needles into the skin at specific points, referred to as acupuncture meridians.
This process then stimulates the nerves in the body and offers physical and emotional pain relief. These meridians are chosen strategically based on the needs of the patient, and will allow your body to begin releasing endorphins and encourage nervous system regulation.
During the procedure, the acupuncturist may also stimulate the nerves by applying subtle heat, electric currents, or by strategically moving the needles.
Today, acupuncture is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an effective tool in combination with other treatments. In general, acupuncture is commonly used to treat a variety of conditions, such as lower back pain, neck and shoulder pain, osteoarthritis conditions, and even anxiety.
Benefits of Acupuncture:
Acupuncture is regularly used within an integrative treatment approach for trauma therapy, usually combined with other modalities such as reiki or psychotherapy – all with the design of healing the mind-body connection.
Acupuncture works to reduce activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps the body to rest and for you to become more present within your body.
Some of the key benefits of acupuncture include:
•Reduced stress and anxiety
•Regulation of autonomic nervous system, for improved digestion and circulation
•Endorphin stimulation provides a greater sense of well-being
•Muscle tension relief caused by trauma or emotional upset
•Reduced chronic pain
How Acupuncture Relieves Pain
From a scientific perspective, acupuncture relieves pain by stimulating endorphin production and the needle insertion has a direct impact on how we process pain through the central nervous system.
Beyond that, acupuncture is also thought to improve blood flow, as the needles dilate constricted blood vessels. With increased blood flow, you’re getting more oxygen and nutrients to your body. Because of this, acupuncture is believed to help improve your essential bodily functions as well, further improving your overall health.
From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture relieves pain by regulating your Qi (pronounced ‘chi’), or life force energy. The mind is a mirror of the body, and vice versa. Qi moves through these acupoints within the body, and with a highly individualized approach from your practitioner, acupuncture can help bring dysregulated Qi back into balance.
The bottom line, acupuncture is a holistic tool. The practice views symptoms as just that – a symptom, and is meant to address the issue systemically. Acupuncture is meant to be entirely customized to an individual based on their health, age, and physical or mental complaints.
When it comes to long term benefits, the effect of acupuncture is remarkably enduring. And that’s not just for chronic physical conditions, but for mental and emotional conditions as well.
In one study published in Frontiers, acupuncture was seen to be helpful for those with anxiety and depression. In a follow up a year after treatment, those who had been prescribed acupuncture as treatment showed lower rates of anxiety and depressive symptoms then those who had not.
For chronic pain, there also seems to be a long term effect. In a study published in the journal PAIN, researchers took a long term look at over 17,000 patients with a range of physical conditions. At that time, they found that 90% of the benefits of acupuncture were sustained and measurable even 12 months later.
How often should I get acupuncture?
The number of sessions and frequency varies heavily from person to person and is entirely dependent upon what you’re seeking treatment for.
Generally, if you’re just starting out, our clinic will recommend that you book a single session every week or two to start, then we will evaluate your pain levels. If you’ve seen improvement, we’ll recommend maintenance sessions from that point on.
Ikigai Integrative: Edmonton’s Acupuncture Experts
As experienced trauma therapists in Edmonton, we seek to ensure patients are getting treatment that doesn’t just help them today—but for months and years to come.
We work to create a highly individualized acupuncture-focused treatment plan for every individual – which always focuses on the mind-body connection and how best to restore it. We may combine acupuncture with other modalities to ensure the best possible outcome, and will always ensure our patients are a part of the decision process.
We work with our patients to not only relieve short term pain, but to restore the mind-body connection and improve overall well being.