People book in with me to have acupuncture for many reasons, such as painful periods, fertility problems, digestive pain, headaches and musculoskeletal issues, back pain and sciatica.
Although we address this “main complaint” as a priority during our treatments my clients are often pleasantly surprised to find other improvements in their wellbeing too!
Some of the most common benefits of acupuncture include
- Sleeping better
- Feeling less stressed!
- Digestive system working better
- Feeling as if you have more energy
- Moving forward with life
- Becoming more self-aware
- Acupuncture works as a preventative
- Acupuncture can help with pain
- Acupuncture treats YOU!
- Getting fewer colds
- Acupuncture is great during pregnancy
- An increased zest for life!
- Acupuncture has been around for a long time
- Acupuncture is safe
- Acupuncture is for (almost) everyone
- Getting some (exceptionally well deserved) “me time”
1, Sleeping better
Many of my clients report that they sleep better following their acupuncture session. This is important as good sleep equals good health and increased wellbeing.
Lack of sleep can adversely affect your health leading to sugar cravings, weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease.
A good night’s sleep ensures that we feel our best by sharpening your memory, lowering your stress levels and boosting your overall mood.
As we can see, the physical and mental benefits of sleeping well go far beyond eliminating your dark under eye circles but it is true that we do tend to look better too!
Research has allowed us to understand exactly how we look better when we have a good night’s sleep, the phrase “getting your beauty sleep“ has never been easier to explain.
One of the reasons for this is that whilst we sleep our body releases human growth hormone HGH which some people refer to as the “fountain of youth” HGH is responsible for the firmness and tone of your skin as well as other benefits such as building muscle strength, boosting metabolism and maintaining bone density.
So if you fancy sleeping better then it may be worth a visit to your local acupuncturist!
2, Feeling less stressed!
Many of my clients describe themselves as busy, really busy!
Work, study, children the list goes on, some people feel overwhelmed by their vast amount of responsibilities but even if people don’t feel consciously stressed we as acupuncturists are often able to observe how this “busyness” is affecting our client’s wellbeing.
How do we do this?
Well, Chinese Medicine has taught us numerous ways to deepen our understanding of the inner state of your energy system and how it is impacting your health and wellbeing.
For example, during your treatment we ask you if we can take your pulse, we do this because each position of your pulse is connected to one of your organs. The speed, depth and overall quality of each pulse position provide us with important information to help improve your health.
How stress affects our body
When we become stressed we activate our sympathetic nervous system (SNS) also known as our fight or flight response which causes our adrenal glands to release cortisol into our bloodstream.
The SNS helps us to prepare our mind and body to face a perceived threat. So when does this become a problem? Well, when we experience constant stress over a long period of time, then you are continually producing cortisol.
This is bad news as too much cortisol can lead to weight gain, osteoporosis, and high blood pressure.
Over time your adrenal glands become exhausted from this chronic stress and this can lead to adrenal fatigue.
This is whereby your body becomes less sensitive to the effects of cortisol and as a consequence of this, your adrenal glands sometimes produce too much or not enough leading to swings in moods and energy levels.
How can acupuncture counteract the negative effects of ongoing stress? I’m so glad you asked!
Having acupuncture treatments helps to activate the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) also called “rest and digest” The PNS helps us with the process of relaxation, digestion, overall calmness and enhances our overall wellbeing.
3, Digestive system working better
Digestive symptoms are exceptionally common in my practice. Bloating, indigestion, constipation, and loose stools affect many more people than you would think!
People often don’t seek treatment with me because of these symptoms unless they are really severe. Usually, they come to see me for help with another health condition and during our consultation, it unfolds that their digestion is also in need of a helping hand.
Clients are pleasantly surprised when they notice that their digestive system seems to be functioning better after a course of treatment.
Let’s discuss how acupuncture can help our digestive symptoms.
Firstly digestive problems are often triggered (or at least exacerbated by) or caused by stress. As we have just learned acupuncture excels in helping you to relax and de stress.
Secondly, acupuncture addresses the root of the digestive problem which can differ from person to person. A common example of this would be that Chinese Medicine sees our Spleen as playing a central role in the digestive process (western medicine sees the function of the spleen in a very different way). When our Spleen energy (QI) is deficient we can experience symptoms such as bloating and diarrhea.
Acupuncture points are chosen to support and nourish your Spleen which results in a reduction of your symptoms.
4, Feeling as if you have more energy
My clients often tell me that their overall energy levels increase after a course of acupuncture treatment.
People describe it as “having a bounce back in their step” or they notice that at the time of day when they would usually feel tired (such as after lunch) they feel that they are more energetic than usual.
Acupuncture can help in conditions that cause fatigue by reenergizing and supporting the body. The way that Chinese Medicine would explain this is that through acupuncture treatment we strengthen your “QI’. The state of your Qi is responsible for your overall energy levels and general vigor.
What’s especially nice about this benefit is that by having increased energy it enables you to do what you really want to do.
For example, many of us want to keep in touch with friends but find after a busy day at work we are simply too tired to want to go out.
I have had clients who have claimed that acupuncture has helped them improve their social life as they no longer have to worry that they will be too tired to function the following morning.
Some clients that have told me they find it that “bit easier “to get to their evening exercise class or complete whatever their personal goal may be whether that is reading more books or taking an evening college course.
What would you do with your time if you had more energy?
5, Moving forward with life
I especially enjoy it when acupuncture helps people to move forward in their lives.
To explain how this mechanism occurs we can explore the concept of Qi. Chinese Medicine believes that the state of our health including the health of our mind body and spirit is in part based on the quality of our Qi which can be translated as the circulating life force of all life.
In order to sustain and revitalize our health, we want to ensure that our Qi is not deficient causing us to feel tired or that are QI is not in stagnated causing us to feel stuck!
Acupuncture points are selected to release any stagnation of QI in your body and as the free-flowing nature of Qi is restored we find that we are now able to move more fluidly in life. It becomes easier to bring ideas into fruition and to end procrastination that may have been holding us back from achieving what we desire or from making decisions that we haven’t been able to make our life.
6, Becoming more self-aware
Acupuncture helps to create deep calmness from within. This calmness that we could also describe as a stillness allows us the space to reflect and be more honest with our selves
As this happens we can gain new clarity on the way we live our lives and the beliefs we hold about ourselves. With this new understanding, we may discover why we react a certain way in particular circumstances or why we feel the way we do about a certain situation.
This new insight allows us more choice in how we continue to live our lives instead of living from a place of old subconscious patterning,
7, Acupuncture works as a preventative
“The superior physician makes it his prerogative to treat disease when it has not yet structurally manifested, and prevents being in the position of having to treat disorders that have already progressed to the realm of the physical. The low level physician finds himself salvaging what has already manifested in physical form, and treating what is already ruined”.
The above statement accurately and elegantly describes Traditional Chinese Medicine’s holistic view of healing and its hope for successful healthcare.
It’s normal to only think about our health when we are experiencing “ill health” It’s only when we develop symptoms that cause us discomfort that we think about our health and we seek treatment to resolve our afflictions.
This isn’t necessarily wrong as we should be able to trust that our body is inclined towards health, but this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t consider how our current environment or how the choices that we make impact our wellbeing to ensure that we can maintain our natural state of wellness.
When we discuss our environment and lifestyle we are referring to all aspects of our life from the food we eat to the quality of the air we breathe, our work/life balance, our relationships and how we cope with stress and the health of our emotional wellbeing.
Chinese medicine asserts that we are all born with a particular constitution, this constitution will determine our strengths and our weaknesses.
Your constitution will determine which foods are beneficial for you to eat, how much exercise and what kind is beneficial for us, how much sleep and rest that we need. Your constitution can also predict where any future health balances may lie.
When we experience mild illnesses we often don’t pay much attention to them as they come and go without causing us too much distress.
However, these fleeting illnesses do provide us with an important opportunity in which we can understand that if a more chronic health condition occurred which system in your body it is likely to affect.
Let’s use an example of a disharmony that involves the health of your Liver Qi.
Do you or have you experienced menstrual irregularities, skin rashes with itching, do you feel stressed, do you have two lines between the eyebrows also known as the 11’?
Although this is an oversimplified example, all of these symptoms can signify an imbalance in your liver energy. This is one of the reasons that when we take a case history from you during your consultation that we pay attention to your ”health history”.
Along with other diagnostic techniques such as your pulse and tongue, this gives us an accurate understanding of your constitutional health. Acupuncture points can then be used which support your future health.
8, Acupuncture can help with pain
Unfortunately, many people experience pain either as the result of an injury or because of a health condition such as sciatica, arthritis, headaches and menstrual pain and many, many more.
The cause of this in terms of Chinese Medicine is that pain is the result of a blockage in our Qi, Acupuncture treatment helps to release this blockage and as correct Qi can now flow freely again and our pain diminishes.
Western medicine also recognizes acupunctures pain relieving qualities but interprets the process in a different way. Acupuncture is thought to communicate via the nervous system to signal to the brain to release pain-relieving chemicals such as endorphins and norepinephrine.
9, Acupuncture treats YOU!
Acupuncture addresses your health condition by focusing on YOU the person who has the condition rather than on treating a disease.
Just because two people have been diagnosed with the same health condition it doesn’t mean that they will experience the exact same symptoms.
Let’s use headaches as an example of a health condition that we may see in clinical practice. What are the questions we could ask you about your condition?
We would ask you when the headaches started? Which part of the head do they affect? Is the pain sharp or dull? Do you notice that they get worse from stress or around your menstrual cycle?
There are many possible answers to these questions and your response may well differ to somebody else experiencing “headaches”. The acupuncture points that we will select will be different too! But in both circumstances, the aim of our treatment will be to fix the root of the imbalance giving rise to your symptoms.
10, Getting fewer colds
Aghh, stuffy nose, sore throat, dry cough whilst experiencing chills and a fever, far from fun! Did you know that Acupuncture can help to boost your resilience to catching a cold?
This is because according to Chinese Medicine the strength of our immunity depends on our “Wei Qi”. Our Wei Qi circulates on the exterior of our body between the skin and muscles and helps to ward off “cold pathogens” so they can’t penetrate our body causes us to suffer from the symptoms described above.
Certain acupuncture points can be selected to strengthen your Wei Qi which will help prevent you from becoming unwell in the first place.
We may also use other techniques too such as cupping. You may have seen cupping marks on Olympic athletes this is because this technique can also be helpful in alleviating muscle tension (and asthma and skin disorders, a blog on cupping benefits to follow!)
If you are already suffering from the symptoms of a cold then acupuncture can be used to help to speed up your recovery.
11, Acupuncture is great during pregnancy
At a time when some treatments are unsuitable, acupuncture is a safe, effective and drug-free treatment option for pregnancy-related issues.
The common symptoms that we see in a clinic during pregnancy include
- Morning sickness or nausea
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Low mood
- Skin rashes
Some acupuncture points are contraindicated during pregnancy so do make sure that you visit a well trained professional.
Chinese Medicine has also become well known for its ability to turn breech babies.
Moxibustion is another modality of treatment of Chinese Medicine, it can be used to turn a breech baby and it is thought to have an 80% success rate. Moxa is a herb that can be rolled into a cigar-shaped stick.
After one end of the stick is lit the moxa (which doesn’t touch your skin) is used to gently warm an acupuncture point on your little toe helping to turn a breech baby.
It is important to note that some acupuncture points are contraindicated during pregnancy so do make sure that you visit a well trained professional.
12, An increased zest for life!
This is a slightly intangible change to explain. It’s a sort of vague, subtle yet positive change in your being.
To describe this further I will introduce you to the concept of the Shen.
What is the Shen? Good question!
Shen can be translated to mean our “spirit” It is thought that the health of our spirit determines how present we are able to be with people and our and emotional health. We can observe the state of our Shen by looking in our eyes.
When you have a healthy Shen, your eyes will look bright, shining and full of vitality. When our Shen is disturbed our eyes can look dull and we may find it difficult to fully connect with people and feel as if there is a veil in front of our eyes or cloudy feeling.
For me as an acupuncture practitioner, I can often observe a change in my clients “Shen” at the end of their treatment with me.
As they get up from their treatment, I notice that their gaze has softened and there’s greater stillness in their eyes. I also see that the treatment has helped them to become more “present” they are more “here” instead of worrying about the past or future which enables them to enjoy the relaxation benefits of the session.
13, Acupuncture has been around for a long time
When you have an acupuncture session you can rest assured that you are receiving treatment from a traditional holistic system of healing that has stood the test of time.
Acupuncture is a modality of the Chinese Medicine system of healing which was discovered over 2500 years ago and it’s still here!
There is a reason that here in the west its popularity continues to rise and that’s because people have experienced acupuncture and it has worked! Additionally, an increasing number of research studies show effective results in various health conditions.
14, Acupuncture is safe
As long as you ensure that you are receiving treatment from a professional the risk of adverse effects from acupuncture treatments are extremely rare.
The most common being a small bruise around the site of the needle or feeling slightly drowsy following a treatment.
15, Acupuncture is for (almost) everyone
Acupuncture is contraindicated in very few conditions such as those suffering from bleeding disorders and severely weakened immune systems.
Although care must be taken in certain health conditions, essentially acupuncture is safe for children, the elderly, those who are very sick or pregnant.
A well trained professional will be aware of any contraindicated points that shouldn’t be used in your health condition. Such conditions might include high blood pressure or pregnancy.
16, Getting some (exceptionally well deserved) “me time”
It sounds ridiculous to say, but how many of us allow ourselves 45-60 minutes of uninterrupted “me time?” Especially during the day!
An acupuncture session allows you the space to talk freely about how you are feeling mentally, emotionally and physically. This discussion is important as it helps me to establish the acupuncture points that are best for you but the discussion also helps people to reflect on their circumstances whilst being listened too in an unjudgmental space.
My clients tell me have told me that simply by booking an acupuncture session that this enables them to feel less bothered by their worries as they know they have scheduled a time to process their feelings.
“I feel so much lighter” is a phrase I have often heard after an acupuncture session.
Well there you have it, deeper sleep, relaxation benefits, increased energy, improved digestion, a more positive and aware outlook on life, all whilst looking better and igniting your Shen!
Are you ready for your acupuncture session now?