Acupuncture is completely natural and does not involve any drugs or medication. It works by stimulating the body to heal itself, using its own resources. It is still not fully scientifically understood exactly how acupuncture is so effective, but it is known to influence the body and the brain in a number of different ways.
When the needles are inserted into the skin, the nervous system registers this as a micro-injury. This triggers the brain to release chemicals called endorphins. Although these are produced naturally by the body, they work in a similar way to opiate medication. They have the effect of relieving pain and produce a feeling of calm and well-being.
This micro-injury also acts as a diversion for the brain, distracting it from pain signals elsewhere in the body. Think about when you bang your elbow or stub your toe. Your automatic reaction is to rub it. Without knowing it, you are changing the way in which your nervous system processes the pain signal. Acupuncture works in a similar way.
However, in an acupuncture treatment, multiple points are stimulated in different areas of the body at the same time. This means that different parts of the nervous system are affected and acupuncture works on a much deeper level.
Acupuncture points have also been found to be in areas with a high concentration of blood vessels. It improves the circulation, increasing the rate at which oxygen is supplied to the muscles and organs and speeding up the excretion of toxins. It reduces inflammation, regulates hormone levels and benefits the immune and digestive systems. It also relaxes the muscles, relieving stiffness and discomfort.
As well as relieving pain and improving many physical symptoms, acupuncture also benefits mental health. It regulates the levels of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin and improves the symptoms of depression and anxiety. It also affects the wavelengths at which the brain functions in a similar way to deep meditation. This helps to reduce stress and improve sleep.
Stress in itself is a contributing factor to many illnesses and by relieving it, the body is given a chance to recover and to heal itself. Acupuncture provides this opportunity along with a whole host of other benefits for both the body and the mind.
Ready to give acupuncture a try?