When you think of acupuncture, you may think of pain relief. Acupuncture can effectively help manage pain, plus a lot more. Susan Kim, DC, FIAMA, CCN, CSCS, explains how acupuncture can treat a wide variety of issues, such as migraines and infertility:
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture stimulates the nervous system, which then activates several body response systems that release natural pain-relieving hormones and chemicals.
Activated spinal neurons release natural pain killers, reducing pain messages to the brain. The midbrain and pituitary gland activate pain-reducing centers, releasing serotonin and noradrenalin. The hypothalamus and pituitary gland release endorphins into the blood and spinal fluid to decrease pain and inflammation. And the peripheral nervous system calms the “fight or flight” response and activates the “relaxing” system.
When acupuncture needles are removed, the tissue repair system activates to coagulate, signal immune cells, repair tissue, improve blood flow and reduce inflammation. The activation of all these systems may explain how acupuncture is not only effective in reducing pain, but also in restoring balance in the immune, cardiovascular, respiratory and hormonal systems.
What can acupuncture help treat?
Most everyone can benefit from acupuncture. Acupuncture is recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to be effective in the treatment of a wide variety of medical problems. Commonly treated issues include:
- Anxiety, depression and stress
- Bell’s palsy
- Sports injuries
- Headaches and migraines
- Post-surgical chronic pain
- Back, shoulder, knee and hip pain
- Stiff neck
- Plantar fasciitis
- Motor vehicle injuries
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Digestive disorders
- Sprains and strains
- Muscle spasms
- Sleeping disorders
- Chronic fatigue