Acupuncture is a healing modality where we use the gentle insertion of ultrafine, sterile, one-time disposable needles on acupuncture points on the body. This process stimulates movement of energy (Qi) within the body, allowing the natural healing to take place and boosting immune function, physical and emotional health. Acupuncture increases circulation of blood, lymph and body fluid, decreases pain and inflammation and accelerates healing.
Scientific research shows acupuncture helps (to name a few from SeftonAcupuncture Clinic UK):
- providing pain relief - by stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, acupuncture leads to release of endorphins and other neurochemicals and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Zhao 2008, Zijlstra 2003, Pomeranz, 1987).
- reducing inflammation - by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Kim 2008, Kavoussi 2007, Zijlstra 2003).
- stimulating production of endogenous opioids that affect the autonomic nervous system (Arranz 2007). Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, while acupuncture can activate the opposing parasympathetic nervous system, which initiates the relaxation response.
- reversing pathological changes in levels of inflammatory cytokines that are associated with anxiety (Arranz 2007)
- reversing stress-induced changes in behaviour and biochemistry (Kim 2009).
- stimulating the nervous system and causes the release of neurochemical messenger molecules and regulates the neurotransmitters such as serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine, GABA, neuropeptide Y and ACTH (Lee 2009; Samuels 2008; Zhou 2008; Yuan 2007).
Moreover acupuncture is increasingly used as integrative medicine, complementing Western medical treatments. Examples are: facial paralysis, cancer care/ chemotherapy support, smooth menopausal transition and after-stroke rehabilitation.
In addition to using ultrafine sterile needles to stimulate acupuncture points, traditional acupuncture may include other techniques such as: