While acupuncture is best known for treating pain, it is so much more. According to its roots in China more than 2,000 years ago, acupuncture has been used to balance the emotions, strengthen digestion, resolve respiratory conditions, boost immunity, decrease inflammation and maintain vibrant health. Its results are garnered through opening the flow of vital energy (qi / pronounced “chee”) throughout meridian pathways of the body. It is based on the belief that the body holds an innate capability to heal itself. When the body’s energetics are prodded by the insertion of fine needles into acupuncture points along these meridians – profound physical healing takes place.
The National Institutes of Health (a major component of the US Department of Health and Human Services) has endorsed acupuncture not only for acute and chronic pain, arthritis and back pain but for post-stroke symptoms as well. This age-old healing modality is effective for treating neurological conditions such as migraines, Bell’s palsy, Parkinson’s disease and neuropathy. Acupuncture is an excellent treatment option for boosting energy and reducing fatigue, particularly for more extreme cases such as chronic fatigue syndrome. And it has helped countless people with their anxiety, panic, post-traumatic stress reactions and insomnia.
Acupuncture balances hormones and strengthens blood flow, thereby leading to positive outcomes in terms of gynecological, prostate and sexual issues. Research has found it to be helpful with infertility, particularly in conjunction with in-vitro fertilization. Weight management is another benefit, especially when needles are placed in the ear to boost metabolism, decrease cravings, strengthen the stomach energy and calm the mind. In addition, increasing qi and blood flow to the face is effective for rejuvenation purposes. It is also successfully used for smoking cessation and drug addiction. These are just some of the many reasons why acupuncture has been an integral component of healthcare throughout the world for centuries and rising over the last decade in the United States.
A multitude of research studies have been conducted to prove its efficacy and to identify how it works – with much of it focusing on pain relief. It has been found to release pain-relieving hormones from the brain by analyzing brain activity through MRI’s before and after acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture is said to impact the autonomic nervous system and release chemicals that reduce inflammation, calm the brain and regulate blood flow. And according to the National Cancer Institute, studies show that acupuncture helps to boost immunity and speed recovery during and after chemotherapy and/or radiation cancer treatment.
Other than anecdotal reports of clinical success, one of the most compelling reasons to believe in its effectiveness is the use of acupuncture as anesthesia in many hospitals throughout China. Furthermore, more and more veterinarians are providing acupuncture treatment to small and large animals with great success – negating the claim that acupuncture is simply a placebo.
Acupuncture is typically a painless experience and one that is deeply relaxing. It often brings an individual into a meditative state between wakefulness and sleep. When qi is flowing freely throughout the body it produces a sense of heaviness, tingling or numbness. These reactions are a tell-tale sign that the treatment is working. It is important to find an acupuncturist who is highly trained, compassionate and addresses the whole body – thereby treating every aspect of one’s being, not just the physical symptom. This is when acupuncture leads to the most profound results as it stimulates the body to heal itself.
It is easy to see why regular acupuncture treatment is one of the healthiest resolutions to make. The only way to find out if it works is to give it a try – offering oneself the opportunity to join the millions of people who are amazed with their healing results.
Shoshanna Katzman, L.Ac., M.S. is an acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist, Tai Chi and Qigong Instructor as well as director of Red Bank Acupuncture & Wellness Center in Shrewsbury, NJ approaching 30 years. Shoshanna is author of Qigong for Staying Young: A Simple 20-Minute Workout to Cultivate Your Vital Energy and co-author of Feeling Light: The Holistic Solution to Permanent Weight Loss and Wellness. For more information be sure to visit www.healing4u.com and www.qigong4.us.
This article appears in the January 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings Monmouth/Ocean. Click here to subscribe, or download the entire issue below. Thank you :)