Hands Up If You Don't Know How Acupuncture Works

So you’ve decided that it’s time to allow someone to put needles into your body for those annoying headaches. You are fed up with the pain and ready to do anything you can to get rid of them. You have agreed to have a free 15 minute chat with me to decide if I can help and of course, you want to know how acupuncture works. I read your question as ‘ is acupuncture good for headaches?’ and reassure you that there is a very good chance that it will help but I need more information about your specific case. You repeat your original question. Ok…I pause … I start with: ‘Acupuncture activates the nervous system and specific areas of the brain. According to which acupuncture points I select, a certain healing response results’. You look at me and wait for more. I light up. Relief. You are open minded and think outside the box which means I can talk about qi! (often spelt chi).

Is acupuncture good for headaches?

One of the reasons why it is so hard to talk about how acupuncture works is because at the most basic level, an acupuncturist aims at balancing the flow of qi in the patient. Qi is not easily translated in fact, there isn’t an English equivalent word but often it is translated as energy. I don’t think that quite does the job. Qi is a bit like electricity; not the most romantic of the comparisons but just like electricity, qi is one invisible thing that has very tangible results. Just like the hormones in your body that you cannot see, you can definitively feel the effect of the hormone endorphine when you feel happy after a good laugh with a friend or a rewarding workout.

an acupuncturist aims at balancing the flow of qi in the patient

Acupuncture works on your parasympathetic nervous system so that the body can heal itself. The needles simply bring the body’s attention to the areas that need healing (like road signs). We all have the ability to heal. The body is constantly trying to create an equilibrium. The needles are just a communication system, like fiber optics, that support and enhance this ability. Therefore when your qi gets blocked in certain areas of your body, they won’t get nourished properly, and you experience pain (yes your headaches!) or cold hands and feet for example. Pain is just one manifestation of qi.

Qi is also that sensation of upsurge when you get angry, the warmth in your chest when you see someone you love or sends shivers down your spine when you feel very connected to something.

Another of the ways acupuncture works is by restoring or enhancing that flow of qi. The needles act to create tiny lesions, which make your blood vessels dilate, and a local release of healing agents or hormones occurs. It takes the body about 3 to 5 days to heal these lesions and that’s why the effects continue to work even after the needles are removed.

The effects continue to work even after the needles are removed.

Activities like meditation, qi gong, yoga and tai chi help developing awareness of how qi moves in your body as well as unblocking areas where it is stuck. Another great way to do that is with acupuncture.

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