By: Dr. Kelly Brown, N.D & Acupuncturist
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture has been around for centuries, originating in China as far back as 100 BC. It has become one of the most widely used and accepted alternative therapies in the western world. Acupuncture treatments are one of the main components of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Modern society is now incorporating acupuncture into many treatment regimes alongside other practices such as physiotherapy, fertility treatments, mental health therapy, among others. Acupuncture has been shown to help treat many inflammatory conditions, such as digestive problems, arthritis, headaches and both chronic and acute pain.
How is Acupuncture Performed? Does it Hurt?
Acupuncture is the insertion of thin needles into various areas throughout the body. In order to decrease the sensation of the needles as they enter the skin, they are as fine as human hair and very sharp. Acupuncture is essentially painless, equivalent to the sensation of a mosquito bite. Once the needles are inserted they often can’t be felt, although, some report feelings of tingling or warmth.
Acupuncture is extremely relaxing and said to be rather enjoyable. This treatment works in part by stimulating blood to flow throughout the body. After a session, patients usually feel extremely calm and peaceful, similar to how one would feel after a massage.
How does Acupuncture Decrease Pain & Inflammation?
Many medical journals have found that acupuncture can block certain substances released from nerve endings, which cause redness and heat, characteristics of inflammation. Acupuncture has also been proven to block a complex relationship of what are called neuropeptides, such as Substance P, which have been shown to cause pain.
Examples of Inflammatory Conditions
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition where the body attacks itself. This causes inflammation and extreme pain in the joints. However, it can also cause problems in other areas of the body such as the eyes, heart, lungs, and skin. Acupuncture can help decrease pain significantly and play a positive role in the remission of arthritis.
Many gut issues are cause by inflammation of the tissue. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), for example, is a digestive disorder with symptoms such as intermittent diarrhea and constipation, malabsorption of nutrients, cramping and more.
Crohn’s disease is much more serious when compared to IBS, and also involves inflammation of the gut tissue. This can cause severe diarrhea, fever, weight loss, and severe malnutrition. Medication is often needed to put Crohn’s into remission.
With the help of acupuncture, the inflammation affecting the gut can often be treated or put into remission. It is also recommended to seek additional advice on diet and supplement suggestions to support the process.
Headaches and Migraines
Headaches and migraines are very common and the pain can be debilitating. Acupuncture treatment can significantly decrease pain during a headache and migraine. It also decreases the frequency of headaches and migraines and often plays a role in preventing them from occurring in the first place!
Chronic and Acute Pain
Acute injuries can be treated with acupuncture to decrease the pain and inflammation as well as help speed up the healing process.
Chronic pain, such as from Fibromyalgia or an old injury, can also benefit greatly from acupuncture treatments. By decreasing inflammation, acupuncture helps control pain as it is one of its causes. Also, acupuncture can help with increasing blood flow to help heal old injuries and decrease pain from certain disorders.
Pain during menstruation is caused by various factors including hormone imbalances, cramping, and inflammation. Acupuncture can decrease the inflammation portion that may be causing pain during this time as well as help regulate hormones that are out of balance, which may cause a range of other symptoms as well!
When considering acupuncture, it is important to check that the practitioner is thoroughly trained. This will ensure that they have a large understanding of anatomy and as well as knowledge of how and where to insert the needles safely.
For more information please contact Dr. Kelly Brown, N.D. at Good n’ Natural (204 326-9565) to book an appointment. Dr. Kelly is a licensed naturopathic doctor with years of training. Naturopathic doctors who are trained in Canada have a thorough understanding of acupuncture.
This column is sponsored by Good 'n' Natural in Steinbach.