Many individuals who struggle with pain management could benefit if they knew the answer to the question, ‘What is acupuncture?’ This ancient Chinese method of energy stimulation is becoming more and more instrumental in helping western people with chronic problems that disrupt their lives and cause a great deal of suffering.
Acupuncture stems from an even older practice called acupressure, in which healers used finger and hand pressure to help those suffering from pain or illness. The theory is that pressure on certain soft-tissue points in the body will stimulate the flow of ‘chi’ – the life-giving energy of all loving things. The chi nourishes each organ and system of the body, and an interruption of this vital flow can cause distress in many ways.
Although this healing art was not practiced widely in the early years of the United States, it is now a popular and widely used method of pain control. It is especially indicated for relief of back pain and migraine headaches. There are other reasons to visit an acupuncturist. Treatment can boost the immune system, help relieve stress, and boost energy levels, for example.
It is now common for medical practices to have an acupuncturist on staff, and there may also be a in-house masseur or masseuse trained in ‘shiatsu’, a form of massage that works with pressure points and meridians. Many ailments that could be treated with surgery can be alleviated with this safe and much less expensive approach. Of course, there is no extensive recovery time as there is with any surgical procedure.
There are no known side effects to a session with an acupuncturist, and no lengthy recovery period as with surgery. The insertion of the needles is painless, with the mild discomfort of the actual insertion being fleeting and acceptable even to the squeamish. Different pressure points will be used to effect alleviation of pain or imbalance.
Researchers in this field have validated the benefits of pressure-point stimulation. It is thought that neurotransmitters released during the ‘un-blocking’ process help block pain messages to the brain while the body heals itself. There are many natural processes to deal with pain, if the pathways of healing are kept open.
An enhanced release of endorphins is also part of the process, researchers believe. These ‘feel-good’ hormones increase a feeling of well-being and promote relaxation. People with mental illness and depression often respond well to energy work, and it has been found to be helpful in cases of autism. Drugs used to treat these problems can have unpleasant side effects and can be addictive. A regular session with an acupuncturist is a much more attractive alternative for many.
‘What is acupuncture?’ is a question that anyone not familiar with this ancient method of healing should ask. The health of you and your whole family might benefit greatly once you know the answer. Check out the American Association of Oriental Medicine for more information and the answers to all your questions and concerns. You can also find a practitioner near you in their directory.