How Acupuncture Works
Updated: Jun 19, 2018
“How does it work?” is one of the most common questions people ask when it comes to acupuncture. Here’s a quick, to-the-point explanation that I like to give my patients to better understand what’s going on during and after an acupuncture treatment.
There are two ways to explain the way acupuncture works: the Chinese medical perspective and the modern medical perspective. From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there are 14 energetic pathways called meridians throughout the body. Energetic imbalances in these meridians and the organs associated with them are seen as the causes of disease. Acupuncture helps to balance the energies in your body to prevent disease and maintain health.
From a western biomedical perspective, acupuncture helps to balance hormones and stimulate the body’s natural painkilling and feel-good chemicals such as endorphins, enkephalins, serotonin, and dopamine. Acupuncture activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for relaxation and homeostasis. The parasympathetic nervous system is known as the “rest and digest” system (in contrast to the sympathetic “fight or flight” system) which allows the body to calm and repair itself. Acupuncture and its associated modalities also promote blood circulation throughout the body and assist in lymphatic drainage.
Acupuncture has a cumulative effect so each treatment builds on progress made from the previous treatment. It is best to group a bunch of acupuncture treatments together at the beginning, then eventually spread them out once the patient feels better. Treatment plans will vary depending on the severity or course of illness, but generally speaking the longer the course of illness, the longer the course of treatment will take. For more chronic cases it’s typically recommended to do 2-3 treatments per week for the first 2 weeks or so, then reassess based on how the symptoms have changed. Once the patient shows signs of improvement, the number of treatments lessen until they are at a point where they are coming back for one treatment every few months or so for a “tune-up”. This is of course a general idea of how long a course of treatment will take and will vary from person to person.
If you want to experience the benefits of acupuncture for yourself, you can book with me online by clicking here or by calling Living Wellness Centre at 604-535-3335.
Quinn Rose, R.Ac.