Holistic medicine seeks to treat the entire person, including the physical, emotional and spiritual needs the person has. The goal is to achieve a proper life balance to improve all areas of health. There are numerous treatment options holistic medicine practitioners offer, tailoring treatment plans specifically for each individual patient. Although every patient is unique, there are…
Learn More About Acupuncture, Endorphins and Serotonin
A combination of ancient Chinese medicine and modern Western medicine, Acupuncture is mainly used to relieve pain through the insertion of small needles into specific areas of the body. Believed to reinstate the balance of qi (energy) within the body in Chinese medicine, Western physicians have explained acupuncture’s positive results by means of many of the body’s systems, including the nervous, digestive and circulatory systems. In a pharmaceutical-heavy world, this technique is offered as an alternative or additional treatment for a wide range of problems.
How acupuncture works
The main goal of acupuncture is to stimulate points on the body that contain sensitive nerves, muscles and connective tissue. These points, also knowns as acupoints, are determined by a physician based on a patient’s symptoms and areas of pain. The physician then inserts a very thin, sturdy needle into the skin at each acupoint while the patient lies relaxed. Oftentimes, patients do not feel these insertions and seldom feel uncomfortable at their removal. The needles may remain inserted for 10 to 20 minutes, and the physician may cause further stimulation by lightly moving the needles while they are in place. In some cases, additional stimulation, such as electrical pulses or heat, are applied to increase the effect.
Acupuncture has an extensive history of treating various types of pain, but it has also been shown to help with other maladies and even psychological conditions:
- Lower back pain
- Neck pain
- Vomiting and nausea
- Digestion problems
- Menstruation and menopausal issues
- Dental pain
- High or low blood pressure
Even daily issues like stress and a weak immune system may benefit from visits to an acupuncturist. Patients who receive acupuncture regularly may report increased energy levels and falling ill less often.
A more natural remedy: endorphins and serotonin
Acupuncture revolves around the idea of stimulating the body’s natural self-healing processes. Depending on the location of the acupoint, certain systems react to a needle’s insertion and can induce neurological and physiological responses.
This can include the release of endorphins, a group of opioid peptides and hormones from the pituitary gland that are direct results of feelings of pain or stress. These endorphins act as natural inhibitors to pain, much in the same way morphine does, but without the risk of addiction. Electrically stimulated acupuncture may have more success in releasing endorphins from the central nervous system than other forms.
Serotonin has also been shown to be released in reaction to acupuncture. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter usually associated with happiness, though its functions extend to a much broader range, including managing moods, social behavior, appetite, sleep and sexual stimuli. Serotonin is often used to counter depression, and acupuncture may be effective in aiding antidepressants.
The popularity of acupuncture has increased significantly in the past several decades, making it easier to access and covered by more insurance policies. Whether you have tried pharmaceuticals in the past that have failed to treat your pain or are simply looking for a more natural, alternative option to your malady, this is a technique worth exploring.
Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Acupuncture in Columbus, OH.
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