10 Reasons You Should Be Getting Acupuncture
Saturday, September 05, 2015
1. It’s utterly relaxing.
We’re starting here for two reasons: it’s true, and it speaks to people’s biggest fear about acupuncture — the needles. How can having someone poke you with needles possibly be relaxing? It just so happens that those teeny tiny hair-thin needles can release endorphins, making you feel happy and relaxed. Many of my patients fall asleep during their treatments because they are so relaxed. Yes, it is true that some types of acupuncture or some parts of your treatment may be a bit intense, but intense just like sometimes a deep tissue massage is intense. The majority of the time, people don’t want to leave because they feel so peaceful at the end of their treatments.
2. It leads to faster recovery times.
If you are into sports, acupuncture should be a regular part of your fitness routine. For athletes, acupuncture is sometimes the secret in their faster-than-expected recovery times when injured. Acupuncture increases blood flow to the area of injury and speeds healing of tissues, so the sooner after an injury you get treated, likely the better your outcomes. Many people routinely come in before and after big races or events because it helps them prepare their bodies before, and then helps the sore stiff muscles after.
3. It improves blood flow.
I mentioned above that acupuncture improves blood flow to help speed injury recovery. This is true, whether it be a sports injury, a work injury, an overuse injury (like tendonitis) or an auto accident injury.
The other important aspect to this is that it helps improve blood flow to your organs, and specifically to your uterus. This is of huge importance for women who have fertility issues due to improper or low blood flow to the ovaries or the uterus. The techniques used to achieve better blood flow to reproductive organs can be used on someone who is attempting to conceive naturally or someone who is undergoing IVF. Fertility clinics frequently refer to acupuncturists to correct this issue.
4. It can help you quit your bad habits.
Acupuncture is fairly well known at dealing with addiction, and is in fact used in many inpatient recovery centers as part of a treatment plan. It can also be used to help you quit smoking or to help with overeating. It is also great at helping reduce the duration and intensity of discontinuation symptoms for patients who are (with their doctor’s support and guidance) attempting to stop taking SSRI’s or other medications with difficult withdrawals.
5. It can get rid of your headaches.
Acupuncture can be used to treat tension headaches, migraines, hormonal headaches, chronic headaches and acute headaches. In fact, about 90% of the time if someone walks into my office with a headache, the headache will be gone by the time they leave. You may need a course of treatment for chronic headaches, but it does not have the negative side effects of those pain relievers you pop, and acupuncture’s effects are long-lasting.
6. It can help you get pregnant.
As mentioned in #3, one way acupuncture can help get you pregnant is by increasing blood flow to the uterus. If you see an acupuncturist who specializes in fertility, you will find that they can help with all manner of fertility issues, from PCOS to endometriosis to unexplained infertility. They can also help with male-factor infertility (which is thought to be responsible for about half of all fertility issues).
If you are planning to undergo IVF, make sure you have an acupuncturist as part of your team. Research shows that having acupuncture right before and right after an IVF procedure can improve outcomes by 40-60%. The evidence is compelling enough that all of the major reproductive clinics in Portland make it possible for your acupuncturist to be onsite for your procedure.
7. It can help you get through the winter.
Acupuncture is a great choice for dealing with the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). In the Pacific Northwest, this can be somewhat of an epidemic during a long rainy winter. This year, El Nino promises to make that happen, so start early — find an acupuncturist now so that you can start preparing for the gray. Acupuncture, although relaxing, can also help increase your overall energy, improve your immunity, and will help you release those feel-good endorphins. Acupuncturists are also good at treating non-seasonal depression.
8. It can treat your chronic pain.
Arthritis? Fibromyalgia? Lingering pain from an accident or high school football injury? Acupuncture could be the answer for you. Much research has been done showing the efficacy of acupuncture in regards to pain management, and the outcomes are positive. Clinically I have seen 80 year-olds who were told their only option was surgery be able to avoid surgery and manage their pain with acupuncture. I have seen people with carpal tunnel from their computer job not only be able to work without pain, but also go back to playing piano and guitar when they aren’t at work. The pain relieving aspect of acupuncture is one of the best documented (and often insurance-approved) uses of acupuncture.
9. It can help you have a smoother period.
If you have irregular periods, painful periods, terrible PMS, migraines with your period — all of these things can be well-treated with acupuncture. Your acupuncturist can target certain times of your menstrual cycle that will best change the aspects of your period that are out of harmony.
10. It works.
Does acupuncture work for everyone 100% of the time? No. But neither does Ibuprofen or knee surgery or any other medical therapy. The truth is that acupuncture works for most people and can help many issues. It is a great stand-alone therapy, and also works in combination with care that you are already receiving from an MD, ND, PT or DC. In fact, a large percentage of my patients come to me as a direct referral from their MD, OB-Gyn, or chiropractor, and we see greater recovery rates and faster healing when we work together. Acupuncture is also used often in combination with all of the other therapies that Chinese Medicine has to offer: herbs, diet, meditation.
The beauty of acupuncture is that it is holistic - meaning it treats the whole person, and it is individualized - meaning your treatment is designed especially for you. This is one of the reasons it works so well. An acupuncturist treats YOU, not your disease or ailment. Go ahead — find yourself a licensed acupuncturist and get started on the road to feeling better.
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