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7 Potential Health Benefits of Acupuncture
Acupuncture is a technique that involves the insertion of very fine needles into the skin to treat various health problems. The hands are placed at specific points in the human body. These particular points are known as “acupoints.” Originating in China, acupuncture has been in use in some form for at least 2500 years but has gained popularity since the 1970s.
Acupuncture has become more and more well-liked all across the world in recent decades. According to the World Health Organization, acupuncture is reportedly used in 103 of the 129 nations that provided data. According to data from the National Health Interview Survey, the number of Americans using acupuncture increased by 50% between 2002 and 2012. According to statistics from 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, 6.4 percent of American adults said they had tried acupuncture, and 1.7 percent said they had done so during the previous 12 months.
Acupuncture's underlying philosophy is a little more nuanced than science and medicine. It is based on the idea that controlling the energy flow known as "qi"—pronounced "chee"—through the body will improve general health. It is thought that enhancing the flow of "Qi" through various acupoints while using acupuncture can enhance general wellness.
Let’s discuss the vital health benefits of achupuncture.
Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Stress is one of the main reasons behind seeking acupuncture treatment. Several studies show that acupuncture helps lower stress hormone levels in the body, for example, cortisol. Acupuncture also stimulates the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers and helps in improving mood. Acupuncture also assists the nervous system in achieving balance, thereby lessening stress and anxiety symptoms.
Reduce Chronic Pain
As per the National Institute of Health (NIH), several studies show that acupuncture works well, especially on chronic pain such as back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis, and headache. An analysis of several research also revealed that acupuncture for illnesses causing chronic pain was superior to no therapy and placebo. As acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins, it acts as a natural painkiller for chronic pain.
Reduce Digestive Problems
Acupuncture helps reduce digestive problems like nausea, vomiting, peptic ulcer, and functional disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, and constipation. It aids in enhancing our digestive function by regulating the gut-brain axis and neurological system to lower stress. Acupuncture helps stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) in our body, a neural network that allows our bodies to unwind after periods of stress or worry. The digestive tract's blood flow is improved as a result. And stimulates the salivary gland, which helps produce digestive enzymes. It also increases intestinal activities necessary for proper digestion in our body.
Boosting Immune System
As per National Centre for Biotechnology Information, researchers have found that acupuncture helps regulate the immune system, which can benefit people with low immunity. A study of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy also revealed that acupuncture helps build natural killer cells, a type of white blood cell (WBC) that helps fight tumor cells or cells that are infected with a virus. Acupuncture stimulates the release of cytokines, a protein that regulates the immune system's function.
Improvement in Sleep
An adult human being needs 6-8 hours of good-quality sleep daily. Acupuncture has also been shown to improve sleep quality. Clinical studies have shown that acupuncture may be more effective on insomnia than Western treatment. As acupuncture is proven to reduce stress and anxiety, contributing to better sleep, stress, and anxiety are two major factors behind sleep-related problems. Acupuncture may stimulate the release of melatonin, which regulates the sleep cycle—increased secretion results in improved overall sleep.
Treatment of Headaches and Migraines
Acupuncture has been effective in the treatment of headaches and migraines. A review of various studies has shown that acupuncture reduces the frequency of migraines and may be as effective as medications in preventing migraines. Acupuncture eliminates the harmful energy causing pain and promotes good energy flow throughout the body.
Acupuncture helps release hormones like endorphins and various neurotransmitters, which helps reduce pain and inflammation. Acupuncture also regulates blood flow into the brain, which is involved in migraines and other headaches.
Reducing Menopausal Symptoms
Acupuncture may help in reducing menopausal symptoms. A study revealed that acupuncture helps reduce hot flashes, mood swings, and sleep disruptions. Acupuncture may work by stimulating the release of estrogen and progesterone, which helps regulate the menstrual cycle and reduce menopausal symptoms. It also helps regulate the nervous system, which can be involved in menopausal symptoms.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical practice that has recently gaining popularity in the Western world. Although acupuncture is considered safe, there are still some related risks. Soreness and slight bleeding or bruising where the needles are put are typical side effects. Using disposable, single-use, and sanitized needles is the norm, so the infection risk is very low. Someone should consult a doctor or healthcare provider if they are considering acupuncture for their treatment.
Before having the acupuncture treatment, one must tell their practitioner −
If they have any bleeding disorder
If they are pregnant
If they have a pacemaker fitted into their body
If an individual plans to undergo acupuncture, they must find a qualified, educated, and licensed acupuncturist to ensure the proper treatment and safety.
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