EnergyTimes Article


Seeking Relief

People turn to acupuncture when Western medicine fails or to avoid the side effects from drugs. Others are simply looking for natural, more holistic treatment. Since pain responds so well to acupuncture, it’s the most common health reason people seek out this modality for backaches, migraines, arthritis and menstrual cramps. The World Health Organization (WHO) also lists asthma, colitis, drug and alcohol addiction, digestive disorders and stress, along with gynecological, obstetric and sexual problems, among the four dozen conditions treated successfully by acupuncture, either alone or in conjunction with other Eastern and Western therapies.
    Some usages surprise. Considering a face lift? “Cosmetic acupuncture with herbal supplements and Chinese contouring massage is very effective as an anti-aging treatment,” says Larisa Turin, LAc, OMD, a licensed acupuncturist in Chicago. “It increases blood circulation to the skin of your face and rejuvenates it with visible results—skin regains its glowing color, small wrinkles disappear, deep ones become smoother and eyelids regain elasticity.”
    How does a bunch of little needles do all this?  Western science can’t fully explain how acupuncture works, nor can it prove or disprove the existence of qi. However, numerous studies have shown that inserting needles into some of the 400 acupoints located along the meridians stimulates nerves in the muscles located there. This stimulation sends electrical impulses up the spinal cord to the brain’s limbic and midbrain areas, and to the pituitary gland, all of which signal the release of chemicals such as endorphins that block pain. Another theory of how acupuncture works involves the thalamus, an area of the brain that relays pain signals. Acupuncture can increase blood flow there, altering the sensation of pain.