Acupuncture can provide fast relief from muscle pain and stress-related tension. It can work wonders for mood regulation, too. When you schedule your first acupuncture session, you can expect to leave the clinic feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. You’ll probably also enjoy a more restful night’s sleep the day of your treatment. Acupuncture has many immediate benefits that make it a treatment method that’s well worth pursuing. But what are the long-term benefits of acupuncture?
Regular acupuncture sessions can help alleviate chronic pain. It can also help boost your immune system, which not only helps prevent you from getting sick but also fights against seasonal allergies. Additionally, acupuncture supports mental health by regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.
Acupuncture is often recommended to treat acute injuries, like sprained ankles. But it can be just as effective at improving pain associated with chronic musculoskeletal issues, including arthritis, back pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome. A single acupuncture session can provide fast relief for these conditions. But repeated sessions can drastically improve your quality of life over time.
Acupuncture relieves pain in two ways. First, acupuncture triggers the release of endorphins, which inhibit the transmission of pain to receptors in the brain, raising your pain threshold naturally. Endorphins have the added benefit of boosting your mood, creating a sense of euphoria, similar to how we feel when we watch a beloved movie or eat a favorite snack. This improved sense of well-being can have a dramatic impact on pain perception.
The second way that acupuncture fights pain is by increasing circulation. Improved blood flow to damaged tissues helps the body heal by ushering inflammatory cells away from the injury site and flooding the area with oxygen and nutrients. Better blood flow to an injury, whether it’s a new injury or an old one, reduces inflammation, which speeds up the healing process.
Improved immune function
One of the long-term benefits of acupuncture is that it boosts your immune system over time. With regular treatments, you may notice an improvement in your seasonal allergy symptoms. You’re also likely to find that you don’t catch colds as easily as you did before beginning acupuncture therapy.
Acupuncture stimulates the release of T cells and B cells. Sometimes called “killer cells”, these white blood cells identify abnormal or infected cells within the body and bind to them. Once the bad cells have been targeted, killer cells release chemicals that result in cellular death, also known as apoptosis.
You can’t feel happy all of the time. We all have bad days, and sometimes, environmental factors that are beyond our control can influence how we feel. For instance, lack of sunlight in the winter can result in low serotonin levels, leading to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
If you regularly struggle with mood swings or bouts of depression, acupuncture can help you find relief from the constant roller coaster of emotions. Acupuncture balances out dopamine and serotonin production. These two neurotransmitters play a huge role in how we feel. Low levels of either can result in irritability, lack of motivation, and loss of enthusiasm for things you once enjoyed.
A single acupuncture session can make you feel a lot better in the short term. But regular acupuncture sessions can help improve your mental health in the long run, especially when combined with other supportive measures like dietary and lifestyle changes.
Less stress and anxiety
Because acupuncture helps to regulate the mood, and because it also helps reduce muscle tension, it makes sense that it can be used to treat stress and anxiety, too. We all experience a certain amount of stress in our day-to-day lives. It’s normal. And, in most cases, it’s actually healthy. Stress helps us stay focused, and gives us the energy we need to complete the task at hand.
But when stress builds for weeks on end with no release, we store all of the tension internally — usually in our muscles. If you feel tense all the time, pretty soon, you’ll start feeling anxious, too. This is the start of a vicious cycle that can be tough to break.
Fortunately, acupuncture can help ease your stress and anxiety, especially when you receive regular sessions. When needles are inserted, they stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the “rest and digest” response. This eases muscle tension and alleviates anxiety.
Improved flexibility and range of motion
Muscle tension, whether it’s caused by mental stress or repetitive use, inevitably leads to musculoskeletal dysfunction. If your muscles are tight and knotted, you won’t be as flexible. This restricts your range of motion, effectively throwing a wrench in your progress at the gym. It also makes you more prone to developing an injury like Achilles tendonitis or a meniscus tear.
But one of the long-term benefits of acupuncture is its ability to release muscle tension almost instantly, which can improve your range of motion. Staying flexible keeps you comfortable, and when you can train comfortably, you’re more likely to use your muscles properly, reducing your risk of getting hurt.
For many of us, a good night’s sleep can be hard to come by. But with regular acupuncture treatments, you can make restful sleep a reality. Because acupuncture reduces muscle pain and inflammation, and because it promotes relaxation by releasing calming endorphins, it’s an ideal alternative treatment for sleep disorders.
Acupuncture can also make it easier to sleep if you have surgery-related insomnia. The pain associated with surgery, and the medications prescribed to cope with that pain, can cause sleeplessness in some individuals. But regular acupuncture sessions can ease this, and many other symptoms related to surgery.
Setting up an acupuncture appointment
Overall, there are many long-term benefits of acupuncture. Even if you aren’t dealing with pain, stress, or a chronic condition, acupuncture is a safe all-natural preventative measure that can help you maintain inner balance and physical fitness.
If you’d like to experience the long-lasting pain-relieving, stress-fighting, and sleep-improving benefits of acupuncture for yourself, Lycoming Orthopedic & Sports Acupuncture can help. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment. We recognize that every patient is an individual with their own unique health needs. We will work with you to craft a treatment plan that aligns with your wellness goals.