Imagine this. It’s 2007 and "Baby Jana" has just opened Inspired Wellness Center. People are unsure of this mystical medicine and wonder if it ACTUALLY works or if it’s all just in their mind. They request things like, no spells…no chanting…no crystals. They sheepishly admit that they’re scared to tell their doctor that they’re trying something like acupuncture.
Fast forward to 2023 where we are featured on the websites for some of the top reproductive centers in Denver as a fertility acupuncturist. Other doctors are strongly recommending patients to see us for things like pain relief, coming off of pain pills, hormone imbalances and chronic stress. We see acupuncture getting hugely popular and often have the convo with patients about how this stuff works.
You might be wondering the same thing? This ancient Chinese practice involves inserting tiny needles into specific points on the body to help it fix itself. But how does it actually work? Let's explore the science behind acupuncture. Yep. There’s actual science behind this stuff.
First let's take a quick tour behind this 3000+ year old medical model. According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncture works by balancing the flow of energy, or qi, throughout the body. When qi is blocked or stagnant, it can lead to pain, illness, and other health problems. By stimulating specific acupuncture points, practitioners can release blockages and restore the flow of qi, promoting healing and well-being.
But what does modern science have to say about acupuncture? While the exact mechanisms are still being studied, researchers have identified several ways in which acupuncture may have physiological effects on the body:
Stimulating the nervous system: Acupuncture may stimulate the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers produced by the body. It may also activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps the body relax and reduces stress.
Modulating inflammation: Acupuncture may help regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation, which can contribute to a range of health problems.
Increasing blood flow: Acupuncture may improve circulation and increase blood flow to targeted areas of the body, promoting healing and reducing pain.
Releasing neurotransmitters: Acupuncture may stimulate the release of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which can help regulate mood and reduce pain.
While there is still much to learn about how acupuncture works, these mechanisms provide some insight into the potential benefits of this ancient practice. In fact, research has shown that acupuncture can be effective for a wide range of conditions, from chronic pain and headaches to anxiety and infertility.
If you're interested in trying acupuncture, be sure to seek out a qualified and licensed practitioner. We obviously recommend Inspired Wellness Center in Denver, Colorado but if you’re not here we’ll help you find somebody awesome. Head to www.NCCAOM.org to search by your zip code for a qualified provider who is properly trained and board certified. And don't worry - despite the use of needles, acupuncture is generally a painless and relaxing experience!