How Does Acupuncture Work to Relieve Pain?

Acupuncture therapy is most likely the best-known element of Chinese medicine. But how does acupuncture work? During the procedure, long, slender needles are gently inserted into the skin at specific bodily locations. Centuries of medical tradition have determined the exact points on the skin that will yield the best therapeutic results. Practitioners use the treatment to effect general wellbeing and balance in the patient’s body, relieving stress and easing pain. It is also used as a means to restore emotional balance.

While the origins of the practice lie in China, acupuncture is now practiced in many parts of the world. This includes right here in Vietnam. If you’re seeking an acupuncturist in Ho Chi Minh City, you may first need to understand more about the practice. You may also need to ask, how does acupuncture relieve pain, and how does acupuncture work?

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What are the benefits of acupuncture therapy?

There are two competing (or perhaps complementary) theories that explain the benefits of acupuncture. According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncture balances the flow of Qi within the body. Acupuncturists and TCM professionals regard Qi as a life force that follows known conduits (meridians) within the body. They diagnose many forms of illness as an imbalance in the flow of Qi that acupuncture serves to restore.

The Western medical perspective is that acupuncture has a stimulatory effect on certain structures within the body. This includes the nerves, muscles and connective tissue. Many doctors think that acupuncture may also activate the natural pain relief capacity of the body.

The physiology of pain – and how does acupuncture work to relieve pain?

So how does acupuncture work? Our nervous system tells the brain where an injury is in the body, and how much it hurts. The brain can act to relieve that pain by releasing
enkephalins, which dull the painful sensation. This system is not perfect, however. If the nervous system is transmitting weak signals, the brain cannot accurately determine the location of the pain. This renders it unable to properly respond, and can lead to chronic pain.

In other scenarios, the brain can overcompensate for an injury by restricting blood flow to the affected area. It does this in case the wound is losing blood, reducing the volume of blood sent to the wound site. While this protects the body, it can be detrimental to the health of the affected area. The blood carries the body’s self-healing substances, which means that the blood flow affects the healing process when restricted.

Acupuncture benefits us by stimulating the body’s nerve pathways, helping signals to reach the brain and activate self-healing and enkephalin release. The effect can be immediate, and repeat sessions can enhance and strengthen natural pain relief, re-establishing neurological homeostasis. Meanwhile, the brain releases normal blood flow to the affected area, stimulating healing.

The physiology of pain – and how does acupuncture work to relieve pain

Those who ask “how does acupuncture work” often feel surprised to learn how scientifically sound the answer is. Put in simple terms, acupuncture therapy kick-starts pain relief mechanisms and restores normal function when the system isn’t functioning properly.

What are other effects of acupuncture?

People who ask “how does acupuncture work?” often feel interested in the broader applications of acupuncture benefits. One of the most important effects of acupuncture therapy is that it promotes blood flow. The blood contains so many healing factors such as oxygen, nutrients, and elements of the immune system. This makes it critical to maintaining health. As we get older, the circulatory system becomes less efficient. Acupuncture is a good way to compensate for this decline, increasing blood flow and vasodilation throughout the body.

Acupuncture is also proven to relax the muscles, which is very important in cases of shortened muscles. This also serves to relieve pressure on various joints and nerves affected by constricted muscular movement. The effect of this is to enhance blood flow.

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Doctors have found that the use of acupuncture benefits our stress levels through gentle reduction, and this is one of its most important bodily effects. The release of a hormone connected with the nervous system called oxytocin produces the effect. Acupuncture stimulates oxytocin release, activating the body’s parasympathetic nervous system that controls restful, calm states. Problems with this system can be responsible for the onset of many autoimmune diseases, making acupuncture a good preventative therapy.

This all serves to answer the question, “how does acupuncture work” – through stimulating natural healing and pain relief systems.

How can I find an acupuncturist in Ho Chi Minh City?

Acupuncture is a safe and highly regarded therapeutic technique – and it is available here in Vietnam at Maple Healthcare. At Maple, your acupuncturist will discuss your health goals and ailments with you, and also check your heartbeat and tongue. This will allow a therapeutic approach that achieves the best overall effects while meeting your healthcare needs.

Your treatment will involve the insertion of thin, sterilized needles into your skin. That will stimulate your hands, arms, feet, legs or torso. The acupuncture therapy will take around 20 or 30 minutes.

If you’re looking for an acupuncturist in Ho Chi Minh City, be sure to book with Maple Healthcare. Our expert acupuncturists can offer the best and safest therapies optimised for your needs. They will be happy to answer your central question: “how does acupuncture work”.

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