Not so long ago, it was difficult to find licensed acupuncturists. Although this centuries-old alternative treatment is highly respected within the world of holistic healing, it was brushed aside by conventional medicine for years. It wasn’t until the last decade or so that acupuncture became more readily available to the average person. Since then, athletes, laborers, and otherwise active people have turned to acupuncture to relieve their chronic pain and provide them with long-term relief. But why is acupuncture going mainstream in medicine today?
Acupuncture is a safe, non-invasive alternative treatment method that can provide immediate relief without causing any side effects. Additionally, there is a growing body of scientific data proving acupuncture’s efficacy for treating stress, chronic pain, and much more.
Acupuncture is a safe natural alternative to pain medications
One of the major reasons why acupuncture is going mainstream in medicine is that it is highly effective at treating pain. Acupuncture fights inflammation by increasing circulation. For musculoskeletal-related injuries, this has the added advantage of improving flexibility and range of motion. In many cases, these effects are immediate. After your first acupuncture session, your muscles will feel much more relaxed, and you’ll likely notice improved athletic performance.
Of course, acupuncture can be used to treat other conditions, too, not just musculoskeletal injuries. Patients struggling with chronic pain due to migraines, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and neuropathy can enjoy the pain-relieving benefits of acupuncture as well. This means acupuncture is an ideal alternative treatment for athletes and non-athletes alike.
In addition to reducing inflammation, acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins. These chemical messengers help modulate pain, raising your pain threshold and making it easier to cope without medication. Taking pain medications over a long period can cause lasting damage to your body, particularly your liver. Acupuncture offers pain patients a safe alternative to these drugs, and it doesn’t cause any negative side effects.
Acupuncture strengthens the immune system
Research has shown that acupuncture boosts the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells. Acupuncture naturally stimulates the nervous system, which triggers the release of T cells and other killer cells. These cells scour the body for harmful pathogens and work to destroy them before an infection sets in. If you tend to catch colds easily, acupuncture can help your body fight back so you use fewer sick days.
If you’re currently healthy, acupuncture can help you keep disease at bay. But acupuncture isn’t just a preventative measure. It can also help your body fight off diseases when you’re already sick. Acupuncture helps clear out inflammatory toxins quickly, lowering inflammation so your body can heal on its own. This makes acupuncture an appropriate supportive treatment for both acute and chronic illnesses.
Acupuncture speeds up the healing process
Another reason why acupuncture is going mainstream in medicine is that it accelerates the healing process. Whether you’re struggling with a sports injury or suffering from the flu, acupuncture can help speed up the healing phase so you can get better faster. Acupuncture’s ability to reduce recovery time is also one of the reasons why it’s so popular in sports medicine today.
By reducing inflammation and promoting healthy blood flow, acupuncture helps your body send nutrients and oxygen to trauma and/or infection sites. Acupuncture may also assist in collagen synthesis. It does this by creating localized microtrauma. When an acupuncture needle is inserted, it makes tiny tears in the muscle fibers. This encourages the body to heal surrounding tissues. When used as a supportive treatment after surgery, acupuncture can help prevent scar tissue and improve your range of motion.
Acupuncture fights stress naturally
Because acupuncture stimulates the nervous system the moment the needle breaks through the skin, this temporarily raises cortisol in the hours following an acupuncture session. But rather than increase stress, acupuncture helps fight it naturally. By raising your cortisol briefly, acupuncture has a stabilizing effect on this stress hormone overall, reducing elevated cortisol levels in the long term.
Acupuncture works much like exercise in this respect. Although it causes a short-term elevation in cortisol, it helps fight stress over time. So if you struggle with anxiety and feel like you can’t turn off your thoughts, regular acupuncture sessions can help you cope with that stress and regain your mental clarity.
Acupuncture promotes restful sleep
Since acupuncture is so effective at treating stress, it only makes sense that it would be a powerful remedy for insomnia as well. In this modern age filled with gadgets and disruptive blue light, it’s easy to become overstimulated. But acupuncture can help you calm down, which is yet another reason why it’s going mainstream in medicine.
Acupuncture helps soothe an overactive sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the “fight or flight” response. At the same time, acupuncture strengthens the parasympathetic nervous system, which is in charge of the “rest and digest” response. By encouraging your body to slow down and take a breather, acupuncture can make it much easier for you to fall asleep. If you struggle with insomnia, daytime drowsiness, or a reverse circadian rhythm, acupuncture can make establishing a healthy sleep pattern much easier so you can finally catch some Z’s.
What other conditions can acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture works with your body. Like cupping and dry needling, it’s a supportive treatment that promotes wellness by reducing inflammation, fighting pathogens and free radicals, and lowering stress levels. Because its benefits are so widespread, it can be used to treat a variety of ailments, from acute sports injuries to chronic health conditions.
Because acupuncture is non-invasive, many patients can continue exercising as normal after their session. There are no significant side effects of using acupuncture. Since there is no risk associated with this all-natural treatment, it’s safe for a variety of patients, and can even be used in tandem with more traditional treatment methods. Because acupuncture carries no risk, and has so many benefits to offer, it’s no wonder why it’s going mainstream in medicine these days.
At Lycoming Orthopedic& Sports Medicine, we have experience creating holistic wellness programs to suit a range of health concerns. Contact our offices today to learn more about how acupuncture can help you. We will walk you through any concerns you may have, and assist you as you embark on your journey to wellness.