What Conditions Benefit From Acupuncture?

Though it is most frequently used for pain relief, acupuncture’s wide-ranging effects make it a useful therapy for conditions affecting the digestive system, musculoskeletal system, respiratory system, nervous system, and more.

Below is a partial list of conditions for which acupuncture therapy is appropriate:

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Addiction Control
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Back Pain
  • Bronchitis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Cataracts
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches/ Migraines
  • Hypertension
  • Infertility
  • Insomnia
  • Menopausal Symptoms
  • Nausea
  • Neck Pain
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Premenstrual Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Smoking cessation
  • Stroke rehabilitation
  • Tinnitus

Though it is most frequently used for pain relief, acupuncture’s wide-ranging effects make it a useful therapy for conditions affecting the digestive system, musculoskeletal system, respiratory system, nervous system, and more.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical procedure that relieves pain and treats disease by restoring the normal flow of energy though the body. A typical acupuncture treatment involves the insertion of a dozen or so hair-thin needles into specific points that connect with deeper organs and tissues elsewhere in the body. The World Health Organization (WHO), the health branch of the United Nations, lists more than 40 conditions for which acupuncture may be useful.

Acupuncture: Pain Relief and Much More

Acupuncture originated in China thousands of years ago, but just because this therapy has its roots in ancient history doesn’t mean that it’s primitive. Traditional Chinese medicine, which developed the practice of acupuncture, is a highly sophisticated medical discipline based on the concept of Qi (pronounced “chee”), the life energy that flows through everyone. When Qi is blocked by stress, fatigue, poor diet, and other disturbances, the result is discomfort or disease. The goal of acupuncture is to restore the flow of Qi, bringing the body into healthy balance.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

If you’ve never experienced acupuncture, the idea that a needle can relieve pain may be hard to fathom. But the sterilized, disposable needles used in acupuncture are so thin that most people feel nothing more than a slight tingling sensation. After the needles are inserted, the lights are lowered, soft music is played, and you experience complete, healing relaxation. The treatment lasts approximately 30 to 60 minutes, during which time the doctor may slightly twist the needles once or twice to “grab” the Qi. Massage, heat, and electrical stimulation may be used in conjunction with the needles. Some conditions clear up with one or two treatments, however, chronic conditions may require multiple sessions.

How Can Acupuncture Benefit Such a Wide Variety of Conditions?

  • Weight Management
  • Modulate Immune System
  • Seasonal Allergies
  • Pain Reduction

Researchers have identified several physiological mechanisms to explain the effects of acupuncture. First, acupuncture stimulates electromagnetic signals in the body to be relayed at a greater rate than normal. Some of these signals start the flow of pain-killing biochemicals such as endorphins, while others mobilize immune system cells to specific sites that are injured or vulnerable to disease. Placing needles at specific acupuncture points also activates opioids in the brain that relieve pain and promote sleep.

Finally, acupuncture promotes the release of neurotransmitters and hormones that affect the body’s organ systems in beneficial ways. Some of these chemicals help restore balance to the immune system. Others affect basic metabolic functions such as blood pressure, blood flow, body temperature, and blood sugar levels.


What Does Acupuncture Feel Like?

Many first-time patients are concerned that acupuncture needles will feel like hypodermic injections at the doctor’s office. They won’t. Acupuncture uses hair-thin, flexible needles that you will hardly feel when I insert them. The needles remain in for 20-30 minutes while you rest on a heated table – feel free to take a nap. Sometimes I will gently stimulate the needles to produce a sensation that Oriental medicine calls de qi. Patients often describe de qi as a heavy, achy pressure, or spreading, traveling feeling. You may also feel an “electrical” sensation moving down the meridian pathways, though this is less common. Most patients find these acupuncture sensations deeply satisfying and leave the treatment feeling relaxed both mentally and physically.

Acupuncture treatment creates deep relaxation in both mind and body.

How Many Treatments Will I Need?

The benefits of acupuncture are cumulative, so more than one treatment is necessary. For acute conditions, you can expect to have 6 – 12 treatments, but you will usually begin to feel relief after just the first few. Chronic conditions may take longer to respond, depending on the type, severity, and duration of the condition. Preventative treatments and treatments for general well-being may also be scheduled on an as-needed basis.