We often go to acupuncturists to fix a problem that already persists. Once an imbalance has been present in the body for some time, it can create a deeper health problem. But according to experts, getting acupuncture on a regular basis can stop imbalances before they begin to wreak havoc on your overall health. Here’s a deeper look at why acupuncture might be something that you should consider adding to your health repertoire.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a form of complementary medicine that involves stimulating the body to heal itself through the application of needles at various points on the body. The stimulation of acupuncture points impacts the central nervous system triggering the release of natural chemicals in the body, such as endorphins and enkephalins, which may have pain relieving properties.
While it was developed a millennia ago, in recent years research has begun to backup what enthusiasts have long contended: this ancient practice works. A large October 2012 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that acupuncture was effective at treating chronic pain. The study found that “[a]cupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain and is, therefore, a reasonable referral option. Significant differences between true and sham acupuncture indicate that acupuncture is more than a placebo.”
Another study, published in the journal of the American Cancer Society found that acupuncture may work to reduce the symptoms of nausea in cancer patients.
"Right now acupuncture is really used to alleviate cancer treatment-induced side effects or cancer-induced symptoms, but never to directly treat cancer,” study author Dr. Ting Bao told Live Science. "It would be really interesting to see if acupuncture can help prevent cancer. But I don't think the research has reached that level yet.”
What Can Acupuncture Treat?
Acupuncture may help treat any number of conditions both physical and mental, from simple allergies to anxiety. Others include:
- Back pain
- Stiff neck
- Anxiety and depression
- Low energy
- Chronic fatigue
- Drug and alcohol addiction
And so many more
How Long Does a Drop-In Session Take and How Often Should You Go?
Each session is tailored to individual patients and whatever their imbalances may be, says Yunuen “June” Beristain, founder of Amplify Acupuncture in Los Angeles, and each treatment is geared toward the patient. For example, some patients might have imbalances in a different organ system. But once the practitioner knows the patient, the actual acupuncture takes about 20 to 30 minutes. They may look at past sessions to get an idea of history. Beristain says that patients going for preventative health treatments should go about once or twice per month.
Using Acupuncture for Preventative Medicine
While acupuncture is most often used for treating specific conditions, experts contend that regular visits are important for preventative health as well.
“Acupuncture works by balancing energy in the body. Everything from sleeping too little, eating a greasy meal, or taking stressful meetings at work can throw that energy off. When these things happen infrequently our bodies are able to bounce back easily, but if stressors happen repeatedly over a long period of time, our energy begins to shift into an unhealthy pattern,” says Kathryn Pedrick, doctor of acupuncture and licensed acupuncturist & herbalist at VIBE Acupuncture. “Acupuncturists are trained to recognize these subtle shifts in energy, and correct those imbalances before they grow into a larger pattern of disease.”
Beristain of Amplify Acupuncture says that getting acupuncture regularly is very useful for keeping the health of the body in check. “The body is always healing itself but if an imbalance goes on for a long time without treatment it becomes difficult for the body to maintain balance,” says Beristain. “Long time stress on the immune system and the body as a whole can cause chronic illness. Diet, painkillers, lifestyle, and not sleeping enough can all take a toll.”
Amplify Acupuncture, which opened in November of 2017, is a really neat concept because it offers no-reservation-required restoration and revitalization in 30-minute drop-in sessions. For those that want to drop in for a post-workout balancing session or over their lunch break, this is the perfect option. It’s almost like dropping in for a yoga or barre class. While there is likely not an Amplify in your area, you can establish a regular appointment with your practitioner.
Beristain says that many of her patients came initially to treat an injury but then liked the way that they felt and continued to come even after they recovered from their injury.