Acupuncture is an Oriental medical practice that has been utilized for tens of centuries as a means to alleviate pain all over the body. Based on traditional Chinese medicine theory, acupuncture involves the use of acupuncture points situated at various different parts of the body on the meridians wherein life energy known as Qi flows. Different types of acupuncture needles are inserted into these points in certain parts of the body to remove pain associated with headaches, stress, and other different kids of ailments. While there is no scientific explanation as to why or how acupuncture does what it does, hundreds of millions of individuals all over the world avail of acupuncture on a regular basis, and it has been utilized since as far back as 2,600 B.C., as recorded in the Records of the Grand Historian or Shiji, recorded by Sima Qian from around 109 – 91 BC.
So with a 4,500 year history, acupuncture has a long track record of validated effectiveness, even if scientific research has yet to come up with a definite comprehension as to its effectiveness. A lot of people may see it as a controversial modality particularly among medical researchers and clinicians entrenched in rigid Western scientific protocol and methods who argue that none of the benefits acupuncture claims have been proven using the scientific method style of study. They claim that the treatment’s effectiveness s is merely due to the placebo effect. Nevertheless, the World Health Organization has announced that acupuncture to be an effective therapy for at least 28 different conditions. While showing few results from clinical studies, abundant anecdotal evidence on the other hand points to the great capability of acupuncture in resolving dozens of conditions.
The lack of scientific evidence for acupuncture’s claimed effectiveness does not alter the fact that this treatment has helped and is still helping hundreds of millions of people all over the world cope with the various stress factors and painful conditions in their lives. The article from the New York Times by James Reston in the 1970s, writing about his experience in undergoing appendectomy surgery in China using only acupuncture as a postsurgical painkiller has showed the great ability of acupuncture in relieving pain. This inspired the rise of the National Acupuncture Association which is the first national group involving itself in all matters acupuncture in the United States.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
The body’s biochemical response to a stressful situation whether mental or physical is what is known as a stress response. When this happens, the body injects into the bloodstream a number of chemicals in the blood that causes a complex chain of events that include increased muscle tension, high blood pressure, increased rate of breathing, and increased heartbeat. Other people call this a “fight or flight” response, or an “adrenaline rush”. During these moments, the body becomes endowed with additional alertness, energy and strength to deal with the current challenge. During these short moments, the body will not incur any damage; however, if the stress is permitted to go out of proportion or become longstanding, the normal healthy response can turn pathological. Enhanced alertness, for example, can lead to exhaustion, insomnia, anxiety or mental strain, while higher breathing rates can bring about panic attacks and a rapid heart rate that can result in palpitations. Also, the increased muscle tone of a normal “fight or flight” response can end up in muscular pains, tension, and tremors.
The 21st century is already starting with so many people especially in developed countries living in an almost endless state of stress, unrelenting and causing a long-term cycle of stress where the natural energy reserves of the body are exhausted causing physical symptoms such as gastric disorders, skin problems, and backaches, as well as psychological symptoms of stress ranging from anxiety to depression, insecurity, poor concentration levels, poor cognitive function, and memory loss. Chronic stress can result in longstanding health issues such as higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure and strokes. The importance of lowering the levels of stress cannot be overstated. Therefore, the initial steps to live a long and meaningful life should include a lowering or elimination in life stress, or a heightened sense of well-being.
Acupuncture is a very effective remedy for stress because it does aid in the normalization of muscle tension and other types of stress-caused conditions in the body. No one is forced to acknowledge or believe in vital energy or Qi to believe the 4,500 years of clinical proof. It really does not matter whether western medical science proves the effectiveness of acupuncture or the existence of Qi, what is important is that acupuncture can help people relax their body and calm their mind, lower blood pressure and decrease heart rates in people suffering from stress. Acupuncture can eliminate or at least mitigate feelings of depression and anxiety by stimulating certain muscles in the body. This causes the release of painkilling and “feel good” chemicals in the body that neutralize the stress chemicals, thereby removing stress.
One of the best and most important factors of acupuncture therapy is that it not a product of pharmaceutical companies and so it is a very safe form of treatment. The ways acupuncture utilizes in creating a better sense of well-being are all natural. It only needs to help the body’s own mechanisms to heal itself. Acupuncture abets better blood flow, and when it is used as treatment for recurring stress injuries like wrist tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome, it uses the pain-killing neurotransmitters known as endorphins to neutralize any type of body pain; once the pain disappears, the level of stress decreases. Acupuncture is ideal for painful problems like knee pain, neck pain, migraines, headaches and back pain, to mention just a few, and is equally or much more effective than massage therapy. It may be a sad fact that acupuncture is grossly misunderstood by western medical researchers and professionals despite the fact that a substantial percentage of the populations of the world today and throughout history have been using this modality for millennia. This should inspire you to consider this very beneficial gift to humanity for the alleviation of your stress.
DeJongh Acupuncture Clinic
2929 SW 3rd Ave #610
Miami, FL 33129