Our bodies are pretty damn magnificent. Every bone, ligament, nerve - all connected. And working together to keep you breathing, moving + living like its 2019. But like all beautiful, delicate things, our bodies need a lot of nurturing + TLC to keep everything running smoothly.
When we’re sick or in pain, we usually turn to western medicine to feel better. But check out the alternative: did you know, acupuncture’s been shown to be an effective treatment method for so many common (and uncommon) health problems? To help you grasp the awesome power of acu, let’s look at some common conditions it can help treat, from your head down all the way down to your toes.
But first, a science lesson…
At the heart of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), your energy (chi) is an essential force for the body to function properly. It effortlessly flows throughout the body through the meridian system, nourishing the many tissues + organs. Think of it like a parallel system to your circulatory system. You need blood to flow throughout the body, just like you need energy to flow.
When a meridian’s blocked, the energy flow stops. That can cause pain at the site of the blockage. Each meridian connects to a specific organ. The same way a blocked meridian can impact the connected organ, a diseased organ can impact the meridian. An acupuncturist will look at the location of the pain and track the true source to rebalance and harmonize the body.
For headaches + migraines
We’ve all had annoying headaches - and we know they’ll often go away on their own if we just eat, sleep or rehydrate. But what about people who suffer from chronic headaches + migraines? Studies show that acupuncture reduces the frequency of headaches in people with migraines. In fact, one study even found that acupuncture may have a similar effect to preventive meds like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Acu actually helped drop study participants’ headaches by 50% or more - which is not a drop in the bucket.
Relief comes from acupuncture needles stimulating the brain’s nerves to trigger the release of endorphins (your body’s natural pain-relieving hormone). When the endorphins are released, headaches and other aches and pains tend to go awa naturally. Your acupuncturist may also discuss a few lifestyle changes with you that might help reduce the frequency of headaches, like reducing caffeine intake.
For dental pain
Ugh, the idea of someone messing around in our mouths is never t pleasant . And likely why 42% of Americans don’t see a dentist as often as they should, according to the American Dental Association. But dental pain from conditions like TMJ can really mess around with our lives. Acu’s been shown to at least provide short-term relief for dental pain. A review of studies related to acupuncture for dental pain found that acu:
- Changes the processing + perception of pain in the brain + spinal cord
- Reduces cardiovascular reflex caused by toothache
- Reduces inflammation
- Increases circulation in the affected area, which helps with swelling
Of course, if you’re badly suffering from a toothache, you should bite the bullet (pun intended) and see a dentist for long-term relief if the pain becomes unbearable.
For neck + back pain
Our spine really works hard for us. And all that modern living - walking on concrete, wearing tight shoes, carrying extra weight - puts a whole lot of extra strain on our neck + back. This causes pain. Full stop. We often reach for over-the-counter meds to relieve that pain, but before you hit the pharm - think about trying acupuncture. Acu’s been shown to ease the trifecta of chronic lower back pain, neck pain + osteoarthritis/knee pain. A study of more than 750 lower back pain sufferers found that acu “may have a favorable effect on self-report pain + functional limitations.” Translation: people who treated lower back pain with acu reported feeling less pain + being able to move infinitely better. Imagine being free to move about the cabin - thanks to acu.
Acu for digestive problems
In TCM, digestive disorders originate in the stomach, spleen + liver. When you team acu up with herbs and lifestyle changes (like diet modification), acu it can help reduce stomach pain + ease digestive issues. You see, acupuncture addresses the imbalance in your gut by going to the root of the problem - by reducing stress + regulating the endocrine and nervous systems’ activity that often causes digestive disorders.
In addition to general digestive issues, acu is really helpful for anyone trying to shed a few extra pounds (Covid 15 anyone?). It’s believed that rebalancing the energy flow can increase metabolism + reduce appetite by majorly lowering stress. The phrase worth its weight in gold comes to mind...
Acu for foot pain
Feet killing you? Acupuncture could be an effective natural pain reliever for you. A recent study found that acu can even help relieve the kind of chronic foot pain that hasn’t responded to other treatments - which is huge. The study also found that the acupuncture points on your feet increase the blood flow to the foot + lower leg. You know, so you can get back in the flow.
So whatever’s - and wherever’s - ailing you, acu’s quite literally got your back. It can clear your head, move your feet + everything in between.