Acupuncture treats "pins and needles." Here's how:Read More
A study funded by the Army and the National Institutes of Health helps explain how acupuncture eases chronic pain. Using brain imaging, the study showed that acupuncture increases the availability of receptors in the brain that process and weaken pain signals. Moreover, acupuncture treatments – in this case twice a week for four weeks – affect both the brain’s short- and long-term ability to reduce pain sensation. A beneficial implication of this research – published in 2009 by the University of Michigan Chronic Pain & Fatigue Research Center – is that patients treated with acupuncture might be more responsive to pain medications like codeine and Vicodin.
Other studies have shown that acupuncture triggers a variety of physiological responses, such as:
✔ Stimulating the immune system and increasing white blood cells, which defend the body against infection ✔ Decreasing cholesterol and triglycerides ✔ Regulating blood sugar metabolism, which helps the body use energy more efficiently ✔ Increasing blood circulation and producing beneficial changes in blood pressure ✔ Increasing stomach peristaltic activity and regulating digestive fluids, thereby improving digestion ✔ Regulating and stimulating serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is directly related to sleep, appetite, and mood
Some people suffer from severe cold hands or feet caused by blood vessel spasms, termed Raynaud's syndrome. In this painful but common condition affecting mostly women during episodes of stress and cold weather, the hands turn white at first. As they become deprived of oxygen, they turn blue and numb, then flush red when the vessels again relax. Acupuncture helps people with Raynaud's: In one study, acupuncture reduced attacks by 63% (Journal of Internal Medicine, 1997). Certain Chinese herbal formulas containing cinnamon are also beneficial for circulation, and the following home remedies will help you during an attack:
✔ Swing your arms in circles to force blood vessels to relax and open.
✔ Soak hands and feet in warm (not hot) water while massaging them.
✔ Use microwave hand warmers to get blood flowing. You can easily make your own by filling a sock or cloth bag with dried beans or rice and microwaving it for 30 seconds or until toasty.
[Note: Raynaud's disease is a common and mild disorder, while Raynaud's phenomenon is more rare and indicates a serious underlying problem. Read more about the differences at MayoClinic.com.]
Many people who try acupuncture for the first time are impressed with how relaxing it is. One of the tools we use is the infrared heatlamp, which feels like the warmth of the sun. People radiate infrared heat and we can absorb it at this same wavelength, thereby stimulating extensive circulation of blood, energy, and nutrients. Japanese, Chinese and German researchers have shown infrared light to have wide therapeutic applications. The light can successfully treat painful conditions such as arthritis, injuries and cramps. It also treats coughs; skin problems; digestive and cardiovascular diseases; and ear, nose and throat problems, among others. Infrared therapy is safe, efficient, and available from your friendly neighborhood acupuncturist!