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How does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture CTMany people are familiar with the practice of acupuncture but not everyone knows exactly how it works. Getting a straight answer to this question is difficult. Studies have shown that when done properly, acupuncture treatment releases endorphins (endogenous morphine) which help explain why acupuncture is widely used to help treat chronic pain conditions. The release of endorphins also produces a relaxed feeling and this can also explain why people with issues of anxiety and panic attacks use acupuncture therapy. However, the endorphin effect doesn't completely explain why acupuncture is used to treat other ailments and debilitating conditions such as depression, gastrointestinal disorders and addictions.

In recent studies, researchers have begun to focus on specific acupuncture points and the reactions the body produces when stimulated by the insertion of an acupuncture needle. For example, the acupuncture point ST 36 is used for several issues including digestive problems, asthma, depression and lower leg pain. Using a PET scan to measure brain activity, researchers have discovered that when ST 36 is needled it has a measurable effect on the function of the brain which in turn stimulates the body to correct itself internally. Acupuncture believes that many illnesses and ailments are caused by a blockage of the body's energy, or Qi, and that when this happens the body needs an outside stimulus to correct the imbalance and to restore the proper flow of energy. The acupuncture needle acts as that stimulus.

Still, knowing that the insertion of a needle will produce a response from the brain doesn't explain why acupuncture works for some people and not for others. Of course, the same can be said for surgeries and prescription medication. A lot of natural healing depends on the patient and to what degree they believe the treatment will work. Acupuncturists have identified 71 different meridians in the human body and acupuncture treatment can involve any number of point combinations to help heal and regulate. Trained acupuncturists study many years to learn the right combination of needle insertion on specific points to achieve the results patients are looking for. Finding an exact definition of how acupuncture works is very hard to do and will take years of clinical studies and research to figure out. But the practice has been used for thousands of years and is continued today throughout the world with many patients extolling the benefits of acupuncture treatment.

To learn more about how acupuncture works, call: 860-243-3903

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