How does acupuncture work?

How does acupuncture work?

At present, about 50% of my patients use acupuncture to some degree in their treatment. The single most frequently asked question by our patients is: “How does acupuncture work?”

Acupuncture as a healing method has been around for millennia. Its origins are unclear, but there is evidence of the use of Bian Shi (sharpened stones) thought to be used as acupuncture needles dating back to the Neolithic period, beginning 9500 BC! According to traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture works to restore the flow of life energy, known as qi. Qi flows along meridians, which are related to an organ system and when it becomes blocked, injury, disease or pain results. By restoring the flow of qi, health is restored.

Contemporary Acupuncture theory is based not on the traditional Chinese system, but on the modern knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and neurology. Amazingly, it doesn’t matter whether a practitioner uses traditional systems or modern theory. Both work!

There are several modern theories to explain acupuncture’s effectiveness. The “Gate Control” theory describes that nerves stimulated during acupuncture block the signals from nerves that carry pain information to the brain. Similar to the way vigorously rubbing your toe after you stub it makes it feel better. Secondly, we know that acupuncture stimulates the release of our natural pain killing hormones such as opioids and endorphins in the brain and spinal cord. Thirdly, by stimulating the nervous system, acupuncture triggers blood vessels to dilate enhancing the flow of blood to the area. This facilitates the removal of waste products from the area of injury and brings in new cells to repair and restore injured tissue.

Acupuncture can be helpful in a variety of painful conditions from chronic headaches to acute sports injuries to repetitive strain injuries and so much more. Treatments are non-painful and leave you with a sense of well-being and relaxation.

Ask your chiropractor for more information about how acupuncture can help you.