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  • Writer's pictureDr Bret Ellington DACM, LAc

Acupuncture: More Than Just For Pain!

The most common reason patients come to my acupuncture clinic is for pain relief. While acupuncture is a great modality for dealing with pain, there are so many other benefits of receiving acupuncture treatments. One thing I teach all my patients is that you don’t have to be sick or in pain to come in for treatments. That’s a Western medicine philosophy and it deals with sick care. While Eastern medicine can also treat people when they’re sick, our goal is to make sure you don’t get sick in the first place. If you keep the body as strong as possible, the greater the odds of your body fighting off disease, infections and getting injured. The great thing about current training in acupuncture program is there’s a balance of both Eastern and Western training.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized acupuncture to be effective for 57 different conditions within the areas of respiratory disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, neurologic and musculoskeletal disorders, reproductive & gynecological conditions, mental and emotional problems, eye and mouth disorders.

So, I’m writing this article not to tell you of specific illnesses or injuries acupuncture can treat, but to let you know all the other benefits that acupuncture gives you when you get a treatment. These benefits, which I affectionately refer to as “wonderful acupuncture side-effects” are so much nicer than the long list of side-effects you’ll see accompanied with a pharmaceutical prescription. I’m not saying don’t take pharmaceuticals. There’s definitely a time and place for them. My point is an acupuncture treatment for any condition will typically give you the following “wonderful acupuncture side-effects”.

One of the biggest benefits I hear from my patients is improved sleep. This is a cornerstone to good health. Without deep sleep, there’s no cellular regeneration. Deep sleep is where our bodies heal and take care of all the stress we’ve accumulated throughout the day. There’s five stages of sleep: REM and four non-REM. The 4 non-REM stages are called stage 1, stage 2, stage 3 and stage 4. Obviously, not a lot of thought was given to naming these non-REM stages of sleep. I’m guessing they were tired! Stages 3 and 4 are deep sleep and that’s where cellular regeneration happens. This is what keeps us younger for longer. Without deep sleep, you will age faster. Think of deep sleep as the fountain of youth, because essentially that’s what it is.

Number two on my list of benefits is improved mood. Why? Acupuncture makes your body release serotonin. Serotonin is your “happy drug” and who couldn’t use a little more “happy” in their life!! One of the interesting things about serotonin is that it’s a precursor for melatonin. So, an increase in serotonin level equals an increase in melatonin.

My third benefit is improved circulation. I hear patients constantly commenting on how much quicker they heal when they get cut or bruised. Patients with diabetic or alcoholic neuropathy have regained sensation in their feet and so many patients that always complained of cold hands and feet found they didn’t seem to suffer from that anymore. A healthy body should have oxygen rich, nutrient dense blood circulating to all parts of the body. Areas receiving poor circulation lack the ability to heal properly.

These are just a few of the wonderful health benefits you can get from acupuncture treatments. You can wait until something is hurting or until you’re sick to come in, or you can make an appointment when you think everything is fine and leave feeling even better. When your treatment is done, you’re going to be amazed at how good you feel!!!

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