Acupuncture is one of the primary treatments of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and has been used to treat a wide range of health concerns for nearly 2,000 years. Acupuncture use in the United States started in the 1970s and has become a popular alternative therapy.
At Legacy Pain and Regenerative Medicine, we use acupuncture as a complementary treatment for pain, anxiety, and sinus allergies. Our chiropractic physician, Dr. Trace Alexander, is certified in clean needle acupuncture.
Though it’s used by many practitioners, you may wonder if acupuncture really works. Let’s take a look at the evidence.
Traditional use of acupuncture
In TCM, health, wellness, and energy depend on the balance between yin and yang, which are opposing energies like happiness and sadness. Feeling content means yin and yang are in balance.
TCM believes the balance of yin and yang in the body relies on the flow of life force, or qi. Qi flows through channels called meridians. When there’s a blockage or disruption in the flow of qi through a meridian, health suffers.
Acupuncture is a treatment that restores the flow of qi by unblocking the meridian using thin needles placed at specific acupuncture points.
How acupuncture works
Yin, yang, meridians, and qi aren’t part of modern medical terminology. However, meridians and acupuncture points correspond with the body’s nervous system.
When placed in certain areas of the body, the acupuncture needles stimulate the central nervous system, triggering the release of chemicals. This includes your body’s natural pain killers — endorphins — and neurotransmitters that elicit a sense of calmness and well-being.
Though the exact mechanisms behind how acupuncture works are still under investigation, researchers theorize that the needles activate the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), releasing the chemicals that produce the desired effects.
The acupuncture needles may also restore or improve communication between your nerves and central nervous system, helping to regulate pain sensations.
Getting the most benefits
Acupuncture is a complementary therapy, meaning it works best when used with other therapies. Even in TCM, acupuncture is part of a whole-body treatment plan.
We take a holistic approach to care, and use acupuncture in conjunction with other health-promoting treatments so you get the most benefits. For pain management or sports medicine, we may combine acupuncture with medications and injections, chiropractic care, therapeutic massage, and nutrition.
Though you may feel improvements in pain and well-being after your first session, acupuncture isn’t a quick fix. We recommend at least five acupuncture treatments so you can get an idea of how well it works for you. If acupuncture benefits your health, we continue treatments.
Acupuncture works by acting on your body’s natural pain and “feel-good” system. Are you ready to give this ancient treatment a try? Give us a call at the office closest to you — we have offices in Plano and Addison, Texas — or click the “book online” button today to schedule your appointment.