Treatment with acupuncture for pain and stress relief
Treatment with acupuncture has become mainstream and central to many integrative medicine practices in recent years. Safe, effective, holistic and patient-centered, acupuncture has been used for thousands of years. It has been proven effective in numerous scientific studies, for everything from allergic rhinitis, asthma, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) to postsurgical recovery, migraines and osteoarthritis.
Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which is practiced by health care providers and therapists around the world who apply the same universal techniques. Small thin needles are inserted at specific areas of the body called acupuncture points, usually located along one of 12 “meridians” or energy pathways. Each meridian is associated with an internal organ as well as with one of the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal, or water.
Each element is thought to have its own energetic properties as well. Regulating the flow of life force energy or chi along these pathways helps to balance the interplay of yin and yang—the complementary yet opposing forces in life (e.g., male/female, light/dark, sun/moon) to bring health and movement to areas where energy blockages or disease may appear.
Modern-day acupuncturists rely as much on traditional theories as they do on scientific method. Research over the last 60 years has noted, for instance, that acupuncture treatment for pain relief involves several classes of opioid and non-opioid neuropeptides, such as endorphins and “substance P” (SP). Anti-inflammatory effects of acupuncture involve modulating neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, nitric oxide, and gamma-amino-butyric-acid (GABA).
Additional conditions benefiting from treatment with acupuncture:
- Autoimmune conditions
- Chronic and acute pain syndromes of the lower and upper back, neck, shoulders, and extremities
- Eye conditions (e.g., macular degeneration, glaucoma)
- Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue
- Female reproductive function and hormonal balance
- Gastrointestinal function and digestive health; e.g., irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and weight loss
- Anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Neurologic conditions
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder and dental pain
What to expect from treatment with acupuncture
An initial session is scheduled for 75 to 90 minutes to complete a review of medical history and to form the traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis and assessment. Follow-up sessions are approximately 50 minutes.
To begin, a course of five to10 sessions is often recommended, depending on the severity of conditions. Maintenance visits may also be suggested as preventative medicine or to control chronic health issues. In addition to needles, a licensed practitioner of Oriental medicine, like Main Line Health’s Daniel Nemer, LOM, may also utilize bodywork modalities ch as acupressure, massage, cupping, and administering of Chinese herbs.