Acupuncture is not mystical voodoo! There are scientific explanations as to why acupuncture works. While some aspects of acupuncture remain a mystery, (I am hopeful one day there will be as many studies involving acupuncture as there are for pharmaceuticals!) there are few things we know for sure and that have been studied and proven:
1. Acupuncture regulates the endocrine system: Hormones! Endorphins! Hooray!
Acupuncture stimulates the nerves in the brain and spinal cord (CNS). The area of the brain known as the hypothalamus controls the hormone secretion of the pituitary gland. When acupuncture points are stimulated, chemicals that make you feel good, such as opioids (natural pain reliever) or serotonin (appetite, sleep, mood regulator), are released and your body becomes homeostatic and happy!
2. Acupuncture increases blood Flow: Blood is our lifeline! Without it our organs can not function, our muscles atrophy, our lungs cease to breathe and we perish...Our bodies depend on the oxygen and nutrients carried by our blood via the circulatory system. When there is a constriction (arguably the cause of all disease) somewhere in our body, sometimes our brain is a little slow to react, doesn't recognize the problem or is having trouble getting the blood and nutrients to the constricted area. And that's when you call your plumber...I mean acupuncturist! Acupuncturists are basically fancy plumbers after all! We figure out where the blockage is located, remove it and get the blood flowing so you can heal faster!
3. Acupuncture helps generates new tissue: When the tissue is healing from an injury, your body goes into inflammation-mode to help regrow tissue. While this is an important part of healing process, it can also cause some adhesions and scar tissue build up especially if there is limited mobility. Acupuncture helps create a gentle mobilization of the surrounding tissue which can then help deliver fluids in and out of the growing tissue. This allows for faster and stronger tissue growth! Acupuncture can also break up old scar tissue from previous injuries or post-surgery.
4. Acupuncture can relax tight muscles: Our muscular system is responsible for moving us. When movement is painful or constricted usually one or more muscles are involved. Muscles can become tight and develop trigger points when there is a trauma, emotional stressor, bad posture, dehydration, or a repetitive strain injury. When a muscle is tight, it shortens, and the muscle can push on a nerve or strain another part of your body to push on a nerve or blood vessel. This can cause local as well as referral pain, numbness or tingling. Trigger point dry needling acupuncture is a specialized technique that is used to help the muscle relax by causing a "twitch response". This sudden contraction of the muscle allows the tight muscle to return to its proper resting position. This procedure should only be performed by a licensed acupuncturist.