5 Health and Fitness Benefits of Acupuncture
Acupuncture has been an essential part of traditional Chinese medicine for at least 2,000 years, although there is some evidence that it might be even older. Yet only in recent years has it begun to find a foothold in the Western world. Many people are still skeptical of this ancient remedy, despite a growing body of evidence for it success.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin, sterile, disposable needles into the skin at key points, depending on the condition that is being treated. In Eastern medicine, this is believed to unblock the flow of Qi, or the vital life force. Western medicine takes a different view, focusing on the chemical responses in the brain. The microtrauma caused by the needles is also believed to jump start the body’s natural immune responses. Regardless of the exact processes at work, however, both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) recognize acupuncture’s value for certain applications. Here are five key health and fitness benefits of acupuncture.
- Illness Management
Although it should only be undertaken as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, there is some evidence that acupuncture can help with the management of both acute and chronic illnesses. Acupuncture boosts the immune system, improving the results of Western treatments and shortening recovery times. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help manage chronic conditions as diverse as arthritis and asthma. For many people, acupuncture dramatically eases the pain of such complex conditions as fibromyalgia. Most acupuncturists are happy to work with Western physicians as part of a fully integrated treatment team. Talk to your doctor about how acupuncture can play a role in your illness management plan.
- Fertility and Pregnancy Support
Fertility acupuncture is a rapidly growing field that shows tremendous success rates, especially when paired with in vitro fertilization (IVF). Acupuncturists treat both partners holistically, incorporating herbal remedies, nutritional counseling, and lifestyle support into the treatment regimen.
Once pregnancy is achieved, many Western doctors advise their patients to continue acupuncture treatments through the critical first 12 weeks, when miscarriages are most likely to occur. In addition, acupuncture can help minimize the painful side effects of pregnancy, from sore muscles to morning sickness. It can even assist with turning breech babies and readying the mother for labor.
- Mental Health and Stress Conditions
Depression, anxiety, and stress are all too common in today’s overworked and overscheduled society. Eastern medicine is well known for its ability to deflect and redirect stress while promoting mental relaxation and calmness. Acupuncture helps to rebalance the chemicals in the brain, encourages deep relaxation of both the mind and body, and avoids the side effects of common Western anxiety and depression medications. It also helps to prevent stress-related migraines, and can reduce both the severity and duration of a headache should one occur.
- Injury Healing
Boosting the immune system, promoting deep relaxation, easing pain, and invoking the body’s anti-inflammatory responses are four major reasons to seek acupuncture following an injury. Evidence shows that acupuncture can speed healing from both acute injuries, such as a sprain or tear, and chronic injuries, such as tennis elbow. Talk to your doctor about the benefits of adding acupuncture to your post-injury recovery regimen.
- Workout Improvement
Acupuncture can actually enhance your workouts in a number of important ways. It relaxes the muscles, allowing them to recover more quickly. It relieves post-workout pain, helping you feel like doing more the next day. It also enhances the rush of endorphins, or natural feel-good chemicals in the brain, that are naturally brought on by exercise. Whether you are training for a major sports competition or just trying to convince yourself to go to the gym more often, consider giving acupuncture a try. The boost you receive could be just what you need to take your workout to the next level.
Located in Pacific Palisades, with satellite clinics in Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, and Beverly Hills, Thumos Health Center offers patients exceptional personalized care. If you are ready to take the first steps toward a more integrative approach to your health care, we invite you to phone 310-927-2792 to schedule an appointment at any of our Los Angeles locations. Our highly knowledgeable and friendly staff will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have.