by Dr. Robert Benhuri, D.Ac – Synergy Wellness Center
Acupuncture is a branch of traditional Chinese medicine that originated around 3,000 years ago. It gradually made its way out of China and across Asia, eventually reaching the rest of the world in the last century.
It aims to both maintain health and treat disease. Acupuncture is completely natural and does not involve any drugs or medication. It works by stimulating the body to heal itself, using its own resources.
Typically, acupuncture is performed by placing fine needles at specific points on the body. These needles are as thin as human hair, sterile and disposed of after a single-use. But how does it work? When the needles are inserted into the skin, the nervous system registers this as a micro-injury. This triggers the brain to release chemicals called endorphins. Although these are produced naturally by the body, they work in a similar way to opiate medication. They have the effect of relieving pain and produce a feeling of calm and well-being.
This micro-injury also acts as a diversion for the brain, distracting it from pain signals elsewhere in the body. Think about when you bang your elbow or stub your toe. Your automatic reaction is to rub it. Without knowing it, you are changing the way in which your nervous system processes the pain signal. Acupuncture works in a similar way.
Acupuncture has repeatedly been clinically shown to improve blood circulation, increasing the rate at which oxygen is supplied to the muscles and organs and speeding up the excretion of toxins. Because of this, it can be used to reduce inflammation, regulate hormone levels and benefit the immune and digestive systems. It also relaxes the muscles, relieving stiffness and discomfort.
As well as relieving pain and improving many physical symptoms, acupuncture also places great importance on the connection between the body and the mind.
One of the major ideas behind it is that any emotional disturbance can result in physical illness and vice versa. To this end, acupuncture regulates the levels of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin and improves the symptoms of depression and anxiety. It also affects the wavelengths at which the brain functions in a similar way to deep meditation. This helps to reduce stress and improve sleep.
Be sure to check out next month’s issue of to learn more about acupuncture, how it works and how it can help you.