ACUPUNCTURE

The fact that Traditional Chinese Medicine has existed for thousands of years and is still used today is a testament to its value as a form of health care.

What is Acupuncture?

 

Acupuncture utilizes hair-thin needles to stimulate specific points on the body, inducing a natural healing response. Though it's most known for treating pain, acupuncture alters various physiological and biochemical conditions in the body and can therefore be used to treat most things you'd commonly visit your doctor for. 

Acupuncture is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a sophisticated holistic system of medicine dating back over 3,000 years. It acknowledges the vital life force energy, or "qi" flowing through every organism via "meridians" that run throughout the body. TCM understands the connection between the mind, body and spirit and treats the whole person and the underlying root cause of a disease, rather than merely addressing individual symptoms. TCM encompasses more well-known treatment therapies, like acupuncture, cupping and herbal medicine, as well as lesser-known modalities, like gua sha, tui na, and moxibustion, and, through an individualized diagnosis and treatment plan, utilizes these tools to bring the body back into balance.

 
Acupuncture in Houston, Texas

What Can Acupuncture Treat?

Acupuncture has been proven effective for promoting relaxation & treating:

  • Insomnia/Sleep Issues

  • Stress

  • Allergies & Asthma

  • Pain & Injuries

  • Infertility & Reproductive Issues

  • Anxiety & Depression

  • Migraines

  • Digestive Issues & Weight Gain

  • Menopausal Symptoms

  • Fatigue

  • High Blood Pressure

  • Skin Issues

  • Bell's Palsy

  ... and more!

report from the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends acupuncture for over 100 conditions, and has stated that acupuncture has been “proven effective” for many conditions, including low back pain, sciatica, headaches and rheumatoid arthritis.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

 

Based on studies & clinical research, acupuncture works by...

  • Stimulating the release of hormones and natural analgesics (painkillers) within the body (1). When a needle is inserted into a particular area of the body, a specific signal is sent to the brain, via the nervous system. Chemicals are then released into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain, which have been shown to be beneficial in treating depression, anxiety, and addiction (2), and in reducing sensations of pain (3).

 

  • Influencing the autonomic system, thus benefitting an array of functions, like respiration, heart rate, blood pressure, circulation and immune function (4).  When our bodies are faced with chronic stress, our nervous systems enter a sympathetic (fight-or-flight) state, which constricts blood vessels and decreases circulation, increases vascular resistance and heart rate, and slows the activity within various organ systems. Acupuncture reverses this by stimulating the release of oxytocin, which induces an almost-instant parasympathetic (rest-and-digest) state within the body (5). This helps to dilate vessels to increase blood circulation, relax tight muscles, stimulate activity within the organs, slow heart rate, regulate breathing, and more.

  • Promoting blood flow. Because acupuncture induces a parasympathetic state within the body's nervous system, vessels and arteries begin to dilate, which increases the circulation of nutrient-rich blood.. Besides nutrients, blood carries oxygen to our tissues and also contributes to our body's energy and hydration levels - all of which promote healing within. Promoting proper blood flow is a foundational principle in Traditional Chinese Medicine theory for maintaining health and wellness.

References:

  1. Anatomy of Neuro-Anatomical Acupuncture, Volume 1, Wong, Dr. J., 1999, p. 34.

  2. Neuro-acupuncture, “Scientific evidence of acupuncture revealed”, Cho, ZH., et al., 2001.v

  3. Harris RE, Zubieta JK, Scott DJ, Napadow V, Gracely RH, Clauw DJ. Traditional Chinese acupuncture and placebo (sham) acupuncture are differentiated by their effects on mu-opioid receptors (MORs). Neuroimage. 2009 Sep;47(3):1077-85. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.05.083. Epub 2009 Jun 6. PMID: 19501658; PMCID: PMC2757074.

  4. Acupuncture – A scientific appraisal, Ernst, E., White, A., 1999, p. 74.

  5. Andersson S, Lundeberg T. Acupuncture--from empiricism to science: functional background to acupuncture effects in pain and disease. Med Hypotheses. 1995 Sep;45(3):271-81. doi: 10.1016/0306-9877(95)90117-5. PMID: 8569551.