Acupuncture is an approach used in traditional medicine that seeks to restore energy flow, and blood circulation by stimulating acupuncture points in the body with the use of hair-thin, sterilized needles.
Preclinical studies have demonstrated the effect of acupuncture. According to the National Institute of Health, acupuncture stimulates the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) to release chemicals such as hormones causing biochemical changes that help regulate the body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being. Modern scientific theory is yet trying to find explanation for how acupuncture works.
Scientists have found that acupuncture works in three major ways and it is in this way that it can treat many different conditions: 1. as analgesia, 2. as a regulator of the physiological system, and 3. as an enhancer of the immune system. Studies have shown that acupuncture can increase the release of endorphins (the body’s natural pain killers), and therefore increases the body’s threshold for pain perception. As a result, acupuncture is used for the treatment of acute and chronic pain without the use of drugs or surgery. For example, in the treatment of menstrual cramps stimulating an acupuncture point called “Spleen 6” will relieve the pain.
Often times, patients will feel a sense of euphoria and overall sense of calmness and wellbeing following an acupuncture treatment due to the effect of acupuncture on increasing serotonin which allows patient to feel rested, relaxed, and happy. This makes Acupuncture a natural treatment for stress, depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
Acupuncture also helps to manage inflammatory conditions by increasing local circulation in areas where circulation may be low or blocked due to injury, scar tissue or muscle tension (e.g. a frozen shoulder).