One of the most common questions regarding Acupuncture care is "Can it help X condition" or "How can it benefit me?". The good news is, no matter who you are or what condition you come in with, Acupuncture can benefit you. Isn't that amazing?! Acupuncture treatment really is a low-risk, high reward situation. Here I'll attempt to concisely layout 9 reasons why I think you should give Acupuncture a try.
1. Stress Relief- Ok y'all, it's 2022, who is walking around day to day not stressed out? The good news is, during Acupuncture treatment, the state of your nervous system will shift from a sympathetic (fight or flight) state to a parasympathetic (rest & digest) state. A lot of patients will leave their treatment tired, loopy, and/or smily which is evidence of how relaxed they are! Acupuncture also releases endorphins, which have beneficial effects on pain & mood. We all know that long term stress is detrimental to health, so addressing stress also helps prevent health issues in the future, increase longevity, and overall make you happier & healthier!
2. Pain Relief- Acupuncture is perhaps most famous for treating chronic pain. Chronic pain can affect physical health, mental health, really every aspect of your life when not addressed. With the rise of the opioid epidemic, we are trying to shift to safer ways to manage pain and Acupuncture is an effective option recommended by doctors.
3. Individualized Care- Every Body on this earth is unique, so why shouldn't the way we address their medical issues also be unique? A central idea of Acupuncture treatment is that every person is different, gets a different diagnosis of their condition, and therefore gets a customized treatment. I believe this helps people get the best possible results for their body.
4. Cost- The cost of medical care in this country is definitely a leading economic issue. Between primary care, specialists, lab tests, procedures, pain control, surgeries, even with insurance, are costly. Prevention of some of these medical costs with Acupuncture may help to prevent disease (and subsequent medical costs) in the long run. The cost of Acupuncture is comparatively low and can provide lots of benefits. HSA/FSA money may also be used to pay for Acupuncture treatments.
5. Major Side Effects- there are none. Actually, there may be some, but I have a feeling you might be ok with these. Side effects include feeling super relaxed after treatment, better sleep, more energy, better digestion, increased memory & focus. Yes, these often occur even if you're not directly being treated for any of these issues.
6. Safety- Acupuncture is incredibly safe when performed by a qualified practitioner. We need 3,000 of clinic hours to sit for board exams to be licensed. This is on top of classroom hours, where we learn Chinese medicine & Western pathology & physiology. After 4 rigorous years, we sit for 4 board exams, get nationally accredited, as well as licensed in our state. A good way to tell if your practitioner is properly qualified is to look for L.Ac at the end of their name, indicating they are a licensed Acupuncturist, as well as searching that they are nationally board certified at www.nccaom.org.
7. Evidence Based Care- If you're a research nerd like me, it's probably important to you that claims that Acupuncture can help XYZ are backed up by research. There is more research being done on Acupuncture than ever before, showing some level of effectiveness for at least 117 conditions. I'll dig more into research in later posts, but if you'd like to do some of your own research, a great resource is www.evidencebasedacupuncture.org.
8. Digestion- In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we refer to digestion as the "center" or "Middle Burner", because everything revolves around it. Hippocrates is quoted as saying "All disease begins in the gut." Addressing digestion can help every other aspect of your health. Acupuncture helps digestion by controlling stress, the nervous system, inflammation, and the gut-brain axis.
9. Preventative Care- The best type of medicine is preventative medicine, right? Preventing a medical issue save you pain, time, money, burnout, surgery, and stress. As we move more into integrative medicine as a society, using Acupuncture to prevent major issues down the road is in everyone's best interest.
I'll elaborate more on these in the future, but please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions of other topics you'd like to hear about!