Acupuncture is a modality that is part of the Chinese Medical system. The ancient Chinese discovered that the body was comprised of distinct energetic channels called meridians that are associated with the organs in the body. By stimulating these meridians at specific points with needles (Acupuncture) and by touch (Acupressure), the body can be brought back into balance and harmony. Acupuncture has gained increasing popularity over the last century throughout the world and is now accessible to almost everyone. What many people do not realize is that acupuncture can benefit everyone, as it treats virtually every medical condition and is excellent for helping to maintain a high level of health when used preventatively. Here are my top 10 reasons why EVERYONE should be getting acupuncture treatments as part of their self-care practice:
In today’s non-stop world it is a rare occasion for me to meet a patient that is not “stressed out”. Many people feel there are just not enough hours in the day to meet the demands of work, family and self-care. This results in most of us operating in a state of chronically high stress, which not only feels awful but is actually quite damaging to the body. Acupuncture is one of the best ways to relax the nervous system and promote a state of calm and relaxation. The majority of my patients enjoy a state of deep relaxation during and after acupuncture visits and often fall into a peaceful sleep.
10% of the US population suffers from chronic insomnia, which is difficulty falling or staying asleep. This lack of sleep is detrimental to a person’s quality of life and has significant health consequences. Many people turn to sleeping pills for relief, but these too can have serious adverse effects that need to be considered. They can be habit forming, leading to abnormal sleep behavior such as sleep walking, sleep eating and long term cognitive decline, depending on which medication is used. Acupuncture is a safe and effective option for insomnia. The best part is that acupuncture treats the root cause of what is causing the insomnia and actually benefits your overall health at the same time!
Fatigue is the number 1 health concern I encounter in my patients. Most people are burning the candle at both ends with fast paced, high stress lives. In Chinese Medicine the term “qi” can be most closely defined as energy. The majority of people I encounter are deficient in qi. This can be due to many factors including chronic stress, strong emotions, improper diet, too much or too little exercise, and even lack of breathing fresh air can contribute to qi deficiency. The good news is that acupuncture and Chinese herbs can do wonders to nourish a person’s qi, thereby increasing their energy levels. Instead of turning to another cup of coffee, consider increasing your energy in a balanced and sustained way with acupuncture.
Acupuncture is one of the best options to consider for both acute and chronic pain. I use acupuncture with great success helping my patients with pain and recovery after injury, pre and post-surgery as well as after motor vehicle accidents. There are several ways in which acupuncture helps to decrease pain and promote tissue recovery including:
Headaches can be crippling to those that suffer from them. Many of my patients suffering from chronic headaches have been under the care of Neurologists and continue to suffer from headaches even while undergoing conventional medical treatment. Acupuncture is an excellent therapy for headaches of all types. I commonly treat patients with migraines, tension headaches and hormonally triggered headaches with great success. My patients report experiencing a decreases in the frequency and severity of headaches and over time many people experience a complete resolution of headaches.
Mood disorders such as anxiety and depression impact the lives of many people causing a great deal of pain and suffering. Medications can be effective and are at times necessary to help manage the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for mood disorders that can be used as a stand- alone treatment as well as in combination with mood supportive medications or supplements. My patients report experiencing a significant decrease in anxiety levels and an improved sense of well-being during acupuncture visits and increasing periods of balanced mood with regular acupuncture treatments.
In Chinese medicine the “Wei Qi” is the protective energy barrier that keeps a person healthy and their immune systems strong against the various pathogens. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are incredibly effective at both strengthening the “Wei Qi” to prevent illness as well as expelling pathogens from the body when a person is ill to help speed along recovery time. I use acupuncture and Chinese herbs to treat patients that get sick frequently, for colds, flus and respiratory disorders, for environmental allergies as well as with patients dealing with autoimmune disorders.
There is an increasingly high percentage of the population that struggles with symptoms of poor digestion. Some of the many digestive conditions I treat with Chinese medicine are gas and bloating, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, inflammatory bowel disease and abdominal pain. In Chinese Medicine a healthy digestive system is the basis for good health. If the digestive system is not functioning optimally it trickles down to all other aspects of health and lays the groundwork for disease. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help to regulate digestion and restore optimal digestive function.
Many women suffer with hormonal imbalances that manifest as conditions such as absent menses, painful menses, heavy menses, infertility, fibroids, endometriosis, perimenopausal and menopausal disorders. Conventional medical treatments are often ineffective for these disorders and seldom treat the underlying cause. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are incredibly beneficial in treating the root cause of these conditions as well as providing symptomatic relief.
Acupuncture is an excellent option for those people that are looking to take their health to the next level. Once my patients have recovered from the condition that brought them in to see me initially I recommend that they continue to come in once a month or quarterly for a “tune up” to keep their body functioning optimally. I find that patients that come in for preventative acupuncture “tune ups” experience higher energy levels, and increased sense of well-being and get sick less frequently than my patients that come in only when they are feeling ill. I am a big advocate for using acupuncture as a form of preventative medicine. I encourage everyone to consider coming in for acupuncture at least once a season to help give their systems a boost, which lays the groundwork for sustained good health.
Emily Navas LAc, Acupuncture & Functional Medicine