Acupuncture… what the heck is it?
Well, it involves needles, which for a lot of people, the sight of those stabbing suckers is enough to make you cringe (especially with this recent Philip Hoffman tragedy…big middle finger to those heroine dealers).
In truth though, acupuncture takes a holistic (whole body) approach to health and restores harmonious balance to your body. The objective of acupuncture is to correct your body’s flow of energy, which is done by inserting sterile, incredibly thin needles (as thin as a hair!) into specific points throughout the body. Of course, the needles are only used once then are disposed of – sharing is NOT caring in this situation.
Acupuncture can be used for a few different reasons. First, as preventative medicine; the energy within your body changes before you do physically, so correcting energy flow can really help stop an illness before it gets out of hand. Secondly, if a physical change has already happened, acupuncture can slow any further deterioration by altering your body’s energy flow. A cool positive attribute to acupuncture is that it compliments western medicine and can be used safely with prescription drugs.
The Eastern and the Western worlds have different explanations for how acupuncture works. The Eastern explanation is based off traditional Chinese medicine and the balance of energy flow, called “Qi”. When healthy, your Qi is on point, but when the Qi flow is blocked in your body, that is when illness occurs.
The Western explanation is more scientific; research has shown that neurovascular nodes – or acupuncture points – are areas of electrical sensitivity and contain a high concentration of sensory fibers, fine blood vessels, fine lymphatic vessels and mast cells (oh my!). By inserting needles at these longitudinal pathways (where the collateral blood vessels supply the capillaries and fine vessels), your sensory receptors are stimulated, which in turn stimulates the nerves that transmit impulses to the brain. Once receiving these impulses, your brain releases neurotrasmitters and killing chemicals, including endorphins, making acupuncture fantastic for back pain, arthritis, P.M.S. and fertility. The substances released via acupuncture relax your entire body, regulate serotonin in the brain and decrease cortisol so your body and mind can be in a position to heal.
When we are under great levels of stress or anxiety, the body is not in a position to heal, which is why acupuncture is used to treat depression and anxiety. Some physiological benefits also include increased circulation, decreased inflammation, pain relief and relief from muscle spasms and an increased immune system due to increased T-cell counts. Acupuncture isn’t just used for adults, mind you.. it’s been known to really help children who are having a hard time in school or just growing up!
Personally, I haven’t given it a shot before, but I think after doing this research and reading up on it, I may schedule myself for an appointment! I’ll keep you posted 😉
Stay warm dahlings.