By now you’re probably familiar with the term acupuncture, and the one thing that probably stands out most in your mind is that it involves needles – but it goes far beyond that.
Diane Kloecker, an acupuncturist with TriHealth Integrative Health & Medicine, describes the benefits of this therapy type, and the health benefits it provides.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a treatment that has Chinese roots, and dates back thousands of years. Thin needles are inserted at specific points throughout the body, and left for a certain duration of time, most commonly 15 to 60 minutes. Once the session is complete, the acupuncturist will quickly and painlessly remove the needles.
What are the Benefits?
Acupuncture puts the body in a super-healing state, which includes balancing the nervous system and stimulating the brain itself to release serotonin and endorphins. For this reason, Diane says she has many patients who come for the singular purpose of reducing their response to stress and anxiety, as well as to promote a sense of well-being.
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Also, it is theorized that through this mechanism, acupuncture is able to have a positive effect on the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
A study from Harvard's Osher Institute demonstrated that acupuncture stimulates the brain to produce more melatonin at night. For this reason, acupuncture is an effective treatment option for sleep disorders/complaints.
“I always tell patients that the worst thing I will do to them is give them a better night's rest,” Diane says.
Acupuncture is also an alternative medicine used for the treatment of sports injuries, including tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, and frozen shoulder.
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Don't Let a Fear of Needles Hold You Back
If you have a fear of needles, Diane encourages you to be honest about their feelings and keep open lines of communication about your comfort levels. “It is natural for people to have concerns and reservations about acupuncture because for many, it is a very new, foreign therapy,” Diane says.
A majority of the time, Diane says she patients find acupuncture to be anti-climactic. “The needles are hundreds of times less thick than injection needles, she says. “Most acupuncture patients will have no sensation whatsoever.”