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Acupuncture Demystified


  • Increases circulation by enhancing the flow of fresh blood and thus oxygen and nutrients to an area of injury to speed healing and to flush out waste products, toxins and stagnant blood.
  • Releases muscle tension & pain by accessing trigger points in your muscles. Trigger points are well-documented tender areas which, when stimulated, release tension in muscle fiber. Acupuncture needles cause your muscles to release, thus relieving pain and tension. Pain is a complex issue, and acupuncture is highly effective. 
  • Produces endorphins (the body’s natural opiate-like chemicals) that reduce pain, relieve stress and give some people a euphoric “acupuncture high” feeling.
  • Reduces stress by reducing stress hormones like cortisol. Stress hormones, while necessary in small amounts, are released much too frequently in most people and are responsible for damage at all cellular levels in your body. They age you, and can cause sleep disruption, weight gain, appetite disturbance, and emotional imbalances; so reducing this systemic response is hugely important in relieving poor health concerns. 
  • Stimulates the parasympathetic system which is our “rest and digest” system (in contrast to the sympathetic system which is our “fight or flight” mode). You may hear your belly start to gurgle when you receive an acupuncture treatment: strong evidence that your parasympathetic system has been activated and that your body is in restoration mode. By taking you out of “fight or flight” and into “rest and digest” mode, acupuncture tells your body to stop using up resources and start rebuilding and nourishing the areas that need attention. Meditation is another great way to do this.
  • Regulates the immune system, fortifying you against colds and flu, allergies, autoimmune conditions, and inflammation. Acupuncture can stimulate both red and white blood cell production.
  • Reduces inflammation (through a combination of the mechanisms mentioned above)– but I feel this benefit warrants special emphasis because inflammation is the root of all disease. Inflammation is a healthy response to tissue damage and it can stimulate our bodies’ self-healing mechanisms, but for many of us, poor diets and unrelieved stressors cause our inflammatory response to over-activate. By increasing circulation, reducing stress hormones, producing endorphins, and activating our parasympathetic (rest and digest) system, acupuncture regulates the inflammatory response. Less inflammation=longer healthier life.
  • Regulates the central nervous system. Neuroacupuncture uses acupuncture points on the head and scalp to inhibit or excite different regions of the brain. This contemporary acupuncture technique has an immediate and often profound impact on central nervous system function.
  • X factor. I’ll be honest, we don’t know everything about how acupuncture works, just like we don’t everything about how the body works. The above mechanisms explain much of it, but acupuncture sometimes has seemingly miraculous results. There is so much we don’t yet know or understand about the human body, but each day we get a little closer with increases in modern day research and technologies. 

Source: Caitlin Gordon, M.S., LAc. of Amaluna Acupuncture & Wellness in Boulder, CO.

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