Acupuncture: What it's good for and why it works

Acupuncture Health
Acupuncture has been known to have a number of health benefits. Source: Getty

Anyone suffering with chronic pain knows that it can be really hard to keep positive. Especially when it seems like that pain is always one step ahead.

For many people acupuncture is a method that helps relieve their pain and can be extremely effective on its own or alongside Western medicines.

According to ancient Chinese practitioners, acupuncture balances the body’s ‘qi’ (restorative energy) through the stimulation of targeted points on the body. Acupuncture is known to clear ‘blockages’ in the qi’s channels and stimulates the body’s own healing process.

It’s also been proven to treat both chronic and intermittent pain while also lowering stress levels.

What is it good for?

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Acupuncture is an effective form of therapy for muscle pain and spasms, back pain, headaches and migraines, neck pains, allergies, osteoarthritis, digestive issues, stress and mood swings among other things. 

Numerous studies have also found acupuncture to be effective for treating menopause symptoms and fertility issues as well. Acupuncture can be used in conjunction with other pain relief techniques and is a great option for someone who has tried many forms of pain relief without success.

As for the risks involved, some patients may experience minor bruising around the areas where needles have been used or a little initial bleeding. Acupuncture is safe as long as you are serviced by an experienced practitioner that follows all hygienic practices.

Why does it work?

Acupuncture therapy is based on your own individual issues. Your acupuncturist should ask about your family health history and note down any physically painful areas or any mental health issues, such as stress and anxiety.

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This helps to plan which parts of the body the acupuncture will focus on. This tailored approach helps attain maximum pain relief and rebalance the body’s qi. 

Recent studies have found that acupuncture was just as effective as painkillers when treating low back pain, migraines, or ankle sprains.

Neuroscientists believe that the stimulation involved in acupuncture causes an increase in blood flow throughout the body. This activates the body’s natural painkillers. So really your body is doing all the work and the needles only kick your healing processes into gear.

Because acupuncture is still considered an ‘alternative’ medicine, it’s often used as a complimentary treatment when dealing with serious illness.

Just like doctors, acupuncturists are accredited and it’s always best to find a practitioner through the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association (AACMA) to ensure you’re receiving the best care. 

If you’re still a little hesitant about acupuncture, discuss it with your GP first to see if it’s a good option for you. 

Have you ever had acupuncture? Did it relieve your pain? Is acupuncture something you would consider?