Chinese medicine is responsible for a number of natural therapies, and acupuncture is probably the best known of them. Acupuncture works on the theory that your body contains energy centers at specific, strategic points. These energy centers are then linked to a particular part of the body.
If you have a sore knee, for example, then the acupuncturist would locate the energy center links to that knee. This could well be located in a completely different part of the body. That’s the point where very thin needles are then inserted to stimulate the energy center. The result? The pain in your knee is reduced or removed entirely, by accessing the central nervous system through the acupuncture point.
Acupuncture is used to treat many conditions, but pain relief is the most common. It’s an odd concept – inserting needles into your body to reduce pain! But plenty of people find acupuncture. It’s believed that as well as stimulating energy centers, acupuncture stimulates the production of endorphins, known as "feel good" chemicals, which also helps reduce the pain.
Other research has shown that acupuncture can assist the immune system by stimulating the production of white blood cells. It’s also been shown that Alpha, Beta and Gamma Globulins increase after acupuncture therapy, and these assist in fighting infection and producing immune antibodies. Recently, acupuncture has been used to assist people recovering from alcohol and drug addiction. Acupuncture focuses on reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms, tension, and inducing a feeling of relaxation.
Sports people at the highest level have turned to acupuncture therapy to help improve both their training and performance. Muscle tension inhibits performance, and acupuncture releases tension in both muscles and the surround tissue, as well improving the efficiency of the nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems. Acupuncture can also be used to speed up recovery rates from injury and manage pain.
Allergies also respond well to acupuncture therapy. Harmless substances can cause the immune system to overreact, leading to an allergic reaction. Many allergies are triggered by common environmental factors such as dust, pollen and chemicals. Many people also suffer from food allergies, which can be triggered by wheat, milk and shellfish, amongst other things. Allergies are uncomfortable – stuffy nose, watery eyes and sneezing. In some sufferers, allergy reaction can result in extreme symptoms such as kidney problems, joint pain and depression. Detoxifying the body and strengthening the immune system with acupuncture helps reduce or eliminate allergic reactions.
Many people turn to acupuncture therapy for more serious issues, such as bronchitis, asthma, hypertension and ulcers. Western medicine struggles to understand how acupuncture manages to be so effective, but the results speak for themselves. Some suggest that believing acupuncture will work is the reason it does, but that hasn’t been proven. Sometimes, for more chronic conditions, massage and herbal remedies are used together with acupuncture therapy.
Other health issues that often respond well to acupuncture include PMS, chronic fatigue syndrome, stress, menopause and menstruation problems. If you’re interested in trying acupuncture therapy, find yourself a reputable local practitioner, then ring and have a chat with them about your health problems. This will give them the opportunity to say whether or not they think acupuncture can help you. The only way to know for sure is to give it a go.
Steve Dolan is an active athlete who uses acupuncture therapy to treat various conditions. Click Acupuncture Therapy to find out how it can help you too.