By Acupuncturist Candice Behan for CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine).
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine is a complete medical system that is capable of diagnosing and supporting people with a wide range of conditions. Here are a few for which it can be especially helpful.
Pain is the leading affliction for which people seek Acupuncture. Many people take extremely addictive medications to ease chronic pain syndromes which can often be effectively relieved by Acupuncture. Research shows that after traditional Acupuncture, our body’s opioid receptors are more available, or receptive, to our own types of hormones and chemicals that help stop pain. Whether it’s an injury, fibromyalgia, headaches, migraines, back pain, or any other type of pain, Acupuncture can be helpful.
Depression and Anxiety
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine of which Acupuncture theory and practice forms part, Acupuncture is thought to work by moving energy; stress can stop the natural flow of energy which produces symptoms such as depression, insomnia, and anxiety. Acupuncture also stimulates the release of natural endorphins found in the brain. These substances provide a feeling of ‘wellbeing’ which positively affect mood. A 2013 study found that Acupuncture could be a more efficient and faster treatment than fluoxetine (Prozac) for depression, without the potentially adverse side-effects.
More than eighty chronic illnesses make up this category of ill health, which includes conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, and Crohn’s disease. Conventional medications aim to supress the immune response with varying degrees of effectiveness and toxicity. These drugs do not address the underlying cause of the disorder. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, autoimmune disorders occur when there is imbalance within the body. These imbalances disrupt the flow of energy resulting in a variety of symptoms. Acupuncture is used to help the body restore balance, addressing the root of the disorder and specific symptoms that are unique to the individual. Clinical research has shown that Acupuncture causes physical responses in nerve cells, the pituitary gland, and various parts of the brain. These responses can cause the body to release proteins, hormones, and brain chemicals that control a number of body functions. In this way, Acupuncture can affect a multitude of symptoms, resulting in improved quality of life, and greater control of the autoimmune disease.
Cancer Treatment Side-Effects
Conventional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation can come with severe side effects. Acupuncture can help to improve nausea, pain, hair loss, mouth sores, hot flashes, and fatigue associated with these, and to increase the body’s overall immune response. Anyone going through chemotherapy may benefit from seeing an Acupuncturist as part of their treatment protocol. Acupuncture can help make them stronger both physically and mentally.
Whilst not top priority in one’s 50s, we may know younger people who find it hard to conceive. Acupuncture enhances fertility by reducing stress, balancing the endocrine system, and increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs, including the ovaries and uterus. This increases the chances that an egg will be properly nourished and carried to full term. And since most female fertility issues begin with irregularities of the menstrual cycle, women can choose to have Acupuncture to correct their cycle before they want to conceive. Infertility affects both women and men, and Acupuncture can be helpful for both.
The benefits of Acupuncture can be greatly enhanced by changes to diet and lifestyle. CNM-trained Acupuncturists are also trained as Naturopaths, qualified to provide dietary and lifestyle advice to help get the best results for their clients.
Candice Behan is an Acupuncturist and lectures at CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine). To find out about CNM training in a range of natural therapies visit www.naturopathy-uk.com