What Is Acupuncture?

what is acupuncture

Acupuncture is a key tenant of traditional Chinese medicine, used to treat pain and balance the flow of energy believed to travel throughout the body. Traditional Chinese acupuncture practitioners believed that inserting very thin needles into different points of the body would re-balance the energy flow.

Today, modern Western practitioners view acupuncture as a way to relieve stress and stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue. It’s used to treat a variety of conditions, from headaches to poor blood pressure. Acupuncture for addiction can also make a difference in your recovery when it’s used as part of a holistic therapy approach.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

If you’re wondering “Why does acupuncture work?” part of it has to do with its individualized treatment nature. Each acupuncture practitioner has a certain style, and they’ll ask about your symptoms, behaviors and lifestyle to determine what kind of treatment will work best. Everything from the parts of your body with pain to the pulse in your wrist will play a role in how your acupuncture treatment will work.

During the treatment, the practitioner will insert needles in strategic places and at different depths on your body. The typical treatment involves five to 20 needles. Then, the practitioner will gently move or twist the needles after placing them or apply heat or electrical pulses that will help stimulate muscles. The needles will stay in place for 10 to 20 minutes while you lie still. Patients typically don’t feel the needles being inserted or removed.

Why Does Acupuncture Work?

Traditional Chinese medicine understood acupuncture to restore an energy force known as “qi.” They thought illnesses were the result of force imbalance and that acupuncture could restore it. A traditional Chinese practitioner would insert thin needles throughout the different 350 acupuncture points in the body in a specific combination to balance the flow.

While we don’t have proof that the energy force exist, studies show that acupuncture works. The different points where a practitioner inserts the needles are spots where nerves, muscles and connective tissue exist. Stimulating these areas of the body increases blood flow and naturally activates your body’s painkillers.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says acupuncture is effective for a variety of conditions, including:

  • Chemotherapy-induced nausea
  • Dysentery
  • Facial pain
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Sciatica

It can even be used to induce labor.

Not everyone responds to an acupuncture treatment. Some will feel relaxed while other patients feel energized. Typically, symptoms will start to improve within a few weeks if the treatment worked for you.

Acupuncture for Addiction

Acupuncture also has a place in treatment for addiction. Acupuncture treatment can help with stress, anxiety, trauma and addiction, and some claim that putting needles inside a patient’s ear can help reduce symptoms of withdrawal. Research shows that acupuncture works by raising your body’s level of endorphins that reduce cravings for drugs or alcohol.

How 7 Summit Pathways Can Help

In addition to evidence-based treatment options, 7 Summit Pathways offers acupuncture as part of a holistic therapy that can give you a more optimistic outlook on Recovery and help reduce cravings, sleep disturbance and more. You don’t need to feel hopeless or alone — we’re here to help you through the Recovery process. 

Contact us today or make an appointment to learn more.

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