Benefits of Acupuncture

Benefits of Acupuncture

Traditional Chinese medicine describes acupuncture as a means of balancing energy that flows through pathways within your body. This is done through the insertion of very small needles at strategic points on the patient’s body. It is generally used to treat pain although it can also be used to treat mental health issues like the management of stress.

This practice has been around for over 4,000 years. Acupuncture has remained a steady source of treatment since then, although it has gone through some changes throughout the years. The same basic concept has remained the same, however. And whether you’re seeking acupuncture for neck pain, fertility, or any of the other positive outcomes you can visit Affinity Acupuncture for help in Nashville.

Let’s look into the specifics of acupuncture to see how we can benefit from it.

Are you interested in seeing what acupuncture can do for you? Visit Affinity Acupuncture to set up an appointment today.

How it Works

The systems by which acupuncture affects the patient differs depending on who you ask. The traditional Chinese interpretation is based around energy.

The energy inside your body is referred to as qi (pronounced “chee”). This qi travels throughout your body by way of 12 separate pathways, known as meridians. And although these meridians don’t follow similar pathways of blood flow and nerves, they do represent the major organs as well as the functions of the body.

Our bodies contain competing energy flows, known as the yin and the yang. These make up our qi. And it is the harmonious congruence of these two forces that keep our bodies in good health and make us feel better. An improper balance of these forces is what leads to illnesses.

There are 361 points on our bodies that can manipulate the flow of our qi. Strategic placement of tiny needles helps direct our energy in the appropriate way to balance out our yin and yang, resulting in a more well-balanced qi.

Western scientists have further studied acupuncture and come up with other theories as to why it works. The first theory is that acupuncture works by stimulating neurohormonal pathways. The needle effectively stimulates a nerve in the patient’s body. The nerve sends a signal to the brain which releases hormones such as endorphins, which promote good feelings in the body which increases the pain threshold.

Another theory is that acupuncture reduces proteins in the body that promote inflammation. This reduction in inflammation is linked to a reduction in pain.

Yet another theory relates directly to acupuncture’s positive effects on nerve damage. It says that insertion of the needle stimulates the brain to secrete a factor that stimulates nerve growth, effectively re-growing the damaged nerve.

But whether you subscribe to the eastern or western explanation of why acupuncture works, the benefits are all the same. But what can acupuncture be used to treat?

What It Treats

Acupuncture is used to treat a number of various conditions. Most notably, it is used to assist in general health, sleep, and digestion. It reduces stress, inflammation, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Acupuncture also increases fertility and energy.

Acupuncture has been proven through clinical trials to be an effective treatment for the following:

  • Allergic rhinitis

  • Biliary colic

  • Depression

  • Dysentery, acute bacillary

  • Dysmenorrhea, primary

  • Epigastralgia, acute

  • Facial pain

  • Headache

  • Hypertension, essential

  • Hypotension, primary

  • Induction of labor

  • Knee pain

  • Leukopenia

  • Low back pain

  • Malposition of fetus, correction of

  • Morning sickness

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Neck pain

  • Pain in dentistry

  • Periarthritis of shoulder

  • Postoperative pain

  • Renal colic

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Sciatica

  • Sprain

  • Stroke

  • Tennis Elbow

These and other conditions have shown positive effects from acupuncture treatment.

What to Expect

Many people feel somewhat lethargic after an acupuncture appointment. This is commonly related to a feeling of deep relaxation. However, treatments affect everyone a little differently. In fact, some people feel energetic from a quick boost of adrenaline after the appointment.

It’s generally recommended to continue seeking relaxing atmospheres after an acupuncture session. Find a quiet place to sit down or even go for a massage. This is a healing process so more the more time you give yourself to take it easy, the better your chances become of experiencing the benefits of the treatment.

Try It for Yourself

The best way to learn about the benefits of acupuncture is to try it firsthand. Those in the Nashville area interested in acupuncture for neck pain, fertility, or any other ailment should visit Affinity Acupuncture.

Affinity Acupuncture serves both the Nashville and Franklin areas. Visit us today to set up an appointment.

When Beauty Sleep’s Elusive, Try Acupuncture

When Beauty Sleep’s Elusive, Try Acupuncture

By GENEVIEVE SHAW BROWN
November 14, 2014 9:10 AM
Good Morning America

Sleep. It sounds so simple. But for the millions of Americans that suffer from sleep deprivation, it’s a very complex issue.

With a job, two kids and living a life at the breakneck pace that is New York City, I never thought I’d have trouble sleeping. And the truth is, I have no trouble falling asleep. But I can’t stay asleep. So I decided to give acupuncture a try.

“After acupuncture, there’s a change in the brain that’s visible on a MRI,” said Dr. Yemeng Chen, the president of the New York College of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

With campuses in New York City and Long Island, the school has graduated more than 500 acupuncturists. Chen said that even traditional medical doctors seek out acupuncture training to complement their expertise.

But won’t it hurt? Chen said that one of the acupuncture points related to sleep issues is in the ear. He proposes putting two needles in my ear. Inside my ear.

“For sure, no one likes needles,” Chen said. “But this is thin and tiny. We insert in acupuncture points, those related to nerve endings. The patient won’t feel severe pain.”

So maybe a little pain.

The first thing Chen ordered me to do was stick out my tongue. He said I was dehydrated, which was a shock to me. I drink about 70 ounces of water every day. But interestingly, I do feel thirsty much of the time.

Chen then put about 20 needles on me, from my ears to my forehead to my wrists and ankles. The only one that made me truly uncomfortable was the one in my left ankle, which Chen said was indicative of some sort of blockage that is affecting my sleep, probably in my liver. When I told him I typically wake up every night 45 minutes after initially falling asleep, he was further convinced of circulatory system block.

Some find the road to sleep is immediate. One patient in Chen’s waiting room said, “When I’m here, I fall asleep very easily. It’s a nice nap, very refreshing.”

I didn’t fall asleep during my session, but was relaxed, though it was difficult to say whether that was because of the well-placed needles or being separated from my iPhone in a dimly-lit room for 20 minutes. Even if this is my only go at acupuncture, I learned a valuable lesson: Don’t take my phone to bed.

Acupuncture Boosts Energy For Chronic Fatigue Patients

Acupuncture Boosts Energy For Chronic Fatigue Patients

From HealhCMI.com:

Acupuncture successfully alleviates chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Researchers discovered that the application of manual acupuncture or acupuncture with warming needle moxibustion significantly reduces “physical and mental fatigue.” As a result of the investigation, the research team concludes that acupuncture provides a significant “therapeutic effect in the treatment of CFS.” 

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a debilitating disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that does not improve with rest and is exacerbated by physical and mental activity. Symptoms include exhaustion, weakness, musculoskeletal pain, poor memory and concentration, and insomnia.

Biomedicine does not identify a specific cause or cure for CFS and treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms. Lab tests and biomarkers specific to CFS are nonexistent. Several types of infections are considered risk factors for CFS including Epstein-Barr virus, human herpes virus 6, enterovirus, rubella, candida albicans, bornaviruses, mycoplasma, Ross River virus, coxiella burnetti and HIV. Sleep, antidepressant and pain relieving medications are often prescribed to patients to alleviate suffering.

Differential diagnostics within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) categorizes CFS into several treatable patterns. The researchers chose acupuncture points best suited for the treatment of CFS based on TCM theory. The manual acupuncture group received needling at acupoints:

Baihui (GV20)
Danzhong (CV17)
Qihai (CV6)
Guanyuan (CV4)
Zusanli (ST36)
Hegu (LI4)
Taichong (LR3)
Sanyinjiao (SP6)

The warm needle acupuncture with moxibustion group received acupoint needling at:

Baihui (GV20)
Qihai (CV6)
Guanyuan (CV4)
Zusanli (ST36)

Additionally, acupuncture treatment was administered to a third group to test for acupuncture point specificity. Nearby points were chosen between 1 – 2 cm from the real acupuncture points. This type of approach varies from high quality sham acupuncture testing for the placebo effect wherein needles only appear to penetrate the skin. In the nearby point group, the researchers applied true acupuncture needling but not in the classic, exact locations as indicated in TCM:

Baihui (GV20)
Danzhong (CV17)
Qihai (CV6)
Guanyuan (CV4)
Zusanli (ST36)
Taichong (LR3)
Sanyinjiao (SP6)
Hegu (LI4)

Needling was applied to the points for all three groups at a rate of once per day for a total of twenty days. CFS was evaluated based on the Chalder Fatigue Scale, a fourteen item breakdown of symptoms. The nearby point group did show improvements in the physical score but only the manual acupuncture and warm needle moxibustion groups significantly improved in the physical and mental fatigue scores. The physical score was overwhelmingly better in the warm needle acupuncture group than the other groups.

The nearby point needling group scored the lowest with a patient satisfaction rate of 35.7%. The acupuncture with warm needle moxibustion group scored the highest with a 72.7% patient satisfaction rate. This group achieved very high scores in both physical and mental improvements. The manual acupuncture group achieved a 36.2% effective rate.

These results point to the superiority of warm needle moxibustion for the treatment of CFS for the point selections in the study design. Interestingly, CFS responds to nearby point stimulation for physical issues as long as the points are within 1 – 2 cm of the true acupuncture point, however, the results are nowhere near as effective as true acupuncture with moxibustion.

This type of testing has come under great scrutiny because TCM theory states that the so-called nearby points may be either Ah Shi acupuncture points or acupoints that stimulate relevant acupuncture channels. Nonetheless, this is an intriguing study that was able to get clinical results with three different clinical protocols. The significant success of warm needle moxibustion in achieving positive patient outcomes suggests that additional research into this approach to care is warranted.

A related study finds acupuncture 80.0% effective for the treatment of CFS. However, adding interferential current therapy to the treatment protocol raises the total effective rate to 93.3%. The complete recovery rate also benefitted from interferential therapy. Standard acupuncture protocols achieved a 20.0% total recovery rate within 20 acupuncture treatments for CFS patients in this acupuncture continuing education investigation. Adding interferential current therapy (ICT) increased the total recovery rate to 43.3%. The researchers conclude, “Electroacupuncture plus ICT can produce a remarkable efficacy in treating CFS.” 

The Hubei University of Chinese Medicine study employed electroacupuncture protocols. Deqi was elicited using even reinforcing-reducing methods. Next, the needles were retained for 20 minutes. Based on individual patient diagnostics, between four and six acupuncture points were given electroacupuncture stimulation using a sparse-dense wave to a perceptibly tolerable intensity level. Acupuncture points needled in the study were:

GV20 (Baihui)
CV4 (Guanyuan)
CV6 (Qihai)
BL25 (Xinshu)
BL18 (Ganshu)
BL13 (Feishu)
BL20 (Pishu)
BL23 (Shenshu)
PC6 (Neiguan)
HT7 (Shenmen)
SP6 (Sanyinjiao)
ST36 (Zusanli)

A total of 5 – 7 of the acupoints were chosen for each patient using filiform needles of 0.30 mm diameter and 40 mm length to depths ranging from 1 – 1.3 cun. A total of 10 sessions comprised one course of care and two courses of care were administered.

A stereo dynamic interferential electrotherapy device was used for the ICT. Two groups of 4 X 4 cm electrodes were applied with a 5 kHz frequency. One group of electrodes was applied to the trapezius muscles and the other group was applied to the spine between acupuncture points BL15 and BL23. Intensity levels were set to patient tolerance levels wherein tingling could be felt at the site of the electrodes. ICT was applied for a total of 30 minutes per each treatment. A total of 10 ICT treatments comprised one course of care. Two courses of care were administered. A complete recovery was defined as all major symptoms and complications were completely resolved, the patient returned to a normal social life, and the patient returned to a normal work life and schedule. Achieving a total effective rate of 93.3% and a total recovery rate of 43.3% with acupuncture combined with ICT demonstrates that acupuncture plays an important role in the treatment of CFS. Furthermore, ICT demonstrates an important synergistic action when combined with acupuncture therapy.

Squashing Stress

Your body experiences stress on a regular basis, and most of the time can manage it quite well. After a while, though, excess amounts of stress can lead to problems with digestion, circulation, sleep, and more. Acupuncture and massage therapy are wonderful ways to help your mind and body relax and de-stress, but when you need stress relief between your visits, these techniques could help. 

Balanced Breath
Inhale for 4 counts; exhale for 4 counts. Repeat 2 or 3 times. 

Divide and Conquer
Take a deep diaphragm breath. Exhale half of the breath, count to three, and finish the exhale. Repeat three times. 

If, at any point, you start to feel dizzy, resume your normal breathing rhythm. Be careful to not repeat these patterns too often, especially in the beginning of your practice. 

Is Acupuncture Right For You?

For almost everyone who has asked themselves that question, the answer is YES.

Most of us know that acupuncture can help with chronic pain associated with arthritis, injury, and demanding lifestyles. Acupuncture is growing in popularity for other areas, as well, including allergy treatments and fertility. There is a whole host of other conditions that acupuncture can bring great relief for, also, including digestive issues, sleep disturbances, menopause, stress/anxiety, smoking cessation, and weight loss. Acupuncture can even help improve your sex life and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. 

If you’re sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, or if you’ve reached a point when feeling ok just isn’t good enough, congratulations! Realizing that you deserve more is one of the best things that you can do for yourself. Making a commitment to take the steps to change how you feel is the next step. Affinity Acupuncture in Brentwood can help you on your wellness journey. We offer acupuncture, massage therapy, nutritional counseling, and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Our services are safe and highly effective, and we offer evening and weekend appointments for your convenience, as well as cost-saving packages and an exclusive membership program. 

Call us at 615-939-2787 or visit our website, to schedule a free consultation today.