What Does Acupuncture Do, Anyways?

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"Oh wow- I didn't know acupuncture could treat THA-AT!"

You'd have to be living under a rock to not have at least heard of acupuncture. You're probably aware that it's good for pain management. And that it involves needles. Or that it's from China. Maybe you have a friend that's tried it, or you've even tried it yourself.

But you may not know what all it can do for you. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), acupuncture has been proven effective at treating many conditions. Here's a list:

low back pain, neck pain, sciatica, tennis elbow, knee pain, periarthritis of the shoulder, sprains, facial pain, headache, dental pain, TMJ dysfunction, rheumatoid arthritis, induction of labor, morning sickness, nausea and vomiting, postoperative pain, stroke, essential hypertension, primary hypotension, renal colic, leucopenia, adverse reactions to chemotherapy and radiation, allergic rhinitis including hay fever, biliary colic, depression, acute bacillary dysentery, primary dysmenorrhea, acute epigastralgia, peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis. 

What Acupuncture Can Treat

To translate that list of medical jargon - acupuncture treats any kind of pain, infertility, women's issues, hormonal imbalances, digestive and respiratory issues, neurological issues, and so much more. Basically, if you're facing any type of health challenge, acupuncture can help support your recovery. If you've been to the doctor and are frustrated and not getting relief, consider finding an acupuncturist in your area.

But How Does it Work?

Is this too good to be true? How can it do all that, just by inserting a few needles?

When you get a cut on your finger, or catch a cold, sprain your ankle, or eat some bad sushi - your body's homeostasis mechanisms kick in to fight bugs, repair injuries, etc. But if the injury or illness is severe, and you are tired and stressed, this mechanism gets tired too, and stops working the way it should. Eventually your body adjusts to a "new normal", one that includes pain and dysfunction.

When an acupuncture needle is inserted into your body, it creates a micro-trauma, a small injury that stimulates those homeostasis mechanisms. In a nutshell, your body is poked and prodded to heal itself.

Questions? Comments? Have your tried acupuncture for any of the things on this list? Did it help?