Acupuncture has been around for ages, and has proven to be useful in many different situations. It is used mainly to relieve pain and discomfort for various ailments by inserting tiny needles at strategic points in your body. The Mayo Clinic lists the following diseases and conditions as ones that have been successfully relieved or treated with acupuncture:
- Chemotherapy-induced and postoperative nausea and vomiting
- Dental pain
- Headaches, including tension and migraine headaches
- Labor pain
- Low back pain
- Neck pain
- Menstrual cramps
However, acupuncture can be used for many other conditions as well. It has been used for mental health ailments such as anxiety and depression, either as an alternative to or in conjunction with prescribed medication. It can help people with insomnia who may not get their desired results with sleep medication. It is also said to strengthen our immune system and help us fight off illness, and this is done by the strengthening of our kidney, spleen, liver, lungs, and heart (Calabro, 2014).
About three months ago, I tried out acupuncture and have been going back weekly ever since. What I have found is that beyond all the medical reasons that acupuncture has been used for, it is also an incredible stress reliever.
Acupuncture’s beneficial effects for stress reduction are well documented, and considering the fact that continuous stress puts us at high risk for numerous health afflictions and heart attacks, I think it is truly worth the investment. Although I am still not a fan of needles being stuck in me (albeit very tiny needles that you do not feel beyond the initial barely-there prick), I now genuinely look forward to my sessions. I work in a hectic pediatric practice where I juggle countless tasks simultaneously while trying to appease irate parents and tune out screaming children and crying infants. To me, thirty minutes in the relaxed atmosphere created by my acupuncturist is the equivalent of a therapy session with a counselor. The bed I lay on heats up comfortably, soothing music plays in the background, and the pleasant smells of aromatherapy engulf the room. The needles work their magic, restoring the natural balance of my body’s energy, or qi (chi) as it is known in traditional Chinese medicine and philosophy. I can truly say that I can feel all the stress and tension that accumulates over the week leave my body. Additionally, while laying down without being able to move for half an hour, I have the opportunity to reflect on my week: what events made me happy, what frustrated me or upset me, and how I responded to those things. If I find that something happened that I did not like or did not handle well, I can think of ways to prevent such things from happening again or ways to change my perceptions of and reactions to such negative stimuli. When I leave my session, I feel a renewed sense of energy as well as the wonderful feeling of calmness and serenity. I feel ready to take on the next week. As the cherry on top, my acupuncturist leaves a minuscule tack in my ear (it is covered and imperceptible), which stays active for two or three days, further relieving feelings of stress. The first time that I got one of those nifty tacks in my ear, I remember my father starting an argument with me over something irrelevant that evening, which would have normally upset me and caused me to respond, but I simply smiled and calmly handled the situation. My mother was shocked at my reaction and mentioned it to me later, and I smiled mysteriously and told her my secret. I have been sold on acupuncture and its powers ever since.
1. Acupuncture. (2016). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/acupuncture/basics/why-its-done/prc-20020778
2. 14 things acupuncture can help you achieve in 2014. (2014). AcuTake. Retrieved from: http://acutakehealth.com/14-things-acupuncture-can-help-you-achieve-in-2014