Can Acupuncture Help With Relaxation?
While acupuncture has been around for hundreds of years, in recent years, more and more people have started to discover the power of acupuncture and all of the things that it can treat. While some people may try acupuncture for headaches, and others may use it to treat injuries, one of the most common reasons that people try acupuncture is to help them with relaxation.
However, for those who have never tried acupuncture before, they may wonder whether or not this ancient treatment can really help them manage stress and find a sense of relaxation.
As many people already know, long-term stress isn’t just annoying, it can also be quite harmful to the body. Long-term stress can damage organs, weaken the immune system and put any individual at additional risk of developing other healthcare issues including cancer, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and more.
Unfortunately, there are not many modern medications that can help remedy stress—at least without having serious side effects. The good news is, acupuncture is able to help remedy this stress and anxiety, with virtually no potential side effects or risks.
If you are still unsure about acupuncture for relaxation, here are a few important facts about acupuncture and relaxation that everyone should know.
What is Acupuncture, And How Does it Help With Relaxation?
Before you get on board for using acupuncture for relaxation, it is important to understand what acupuncture is and why it works to help with relaxation.
Here is how acupuncture works. An acupuncturist will insert fine needles to certain identified acupuncture points on “meridians” which run throughout the body. These meridians are corresponding to certain organs.
These meridians are often thought of as a highway of energy or “qi.” This practice believes that you have this qi of energy running through the body, and that you suffer from symptoms when there are roadblocks on this energy highway. Acupuncture will eliminate these roadblocks and relieve the congestion to help treat issues such as stress and anxiety.
There are nine different acupressure points in the body that will be stimulated during the treatment, most of which are designed to help with stress and relaxation.
- Central Treasury- This point is adjacent to the armpit. When this area is stimulated, it helps to balance emotions (and ultimately provide stress relief), while also balancing emotions.
- Great Rushing- Located between the second toe and thumb in the webbing of your feet. Applying pressure to this point helps maintain a smooth energy flow while unblocking chocked meridians.
- Grandfather-Grandson Point- This point is located in the feet, at the base of the big toe. It provides balanced circulation of energy through the body when pressure is applied. This point will help relieve your mind from worries and anxiety.
- Inner Gate- Located near the pulse of the hands; when you apply pressure on this area, it can help get rid of extra stress and relieve nausea.
- Outer Gate- The outer gate is located on the opposite side of the inner gate point. When this area is stimulated, it will help support the immune system and improve energy flow—which is very helpful in terms of promoting relaxation and helping de-stress.
- Shoulder Well- Located on the ridge of the shoulder, treating this area will help reduce stress and tension. When this area is stimulated, it will help introduce unhindered energy flow throughout the body, which will help relieve stress and anxiety.
- Three Mile Point- This area is located near the kneecap but above the feet. When applying pressure to this point, the acupuncturist can regulate and increase energy flow. Pressure is typically only applied to this area for one minute before other areas are stimulated.
- Union Valley- This acupressure point is located in the webbing of the hands, in between the index finger and the thumb. Applying pressure to this area, it will reduce stress and muscle tension.
- Will’s Chamber- This area is located near the backbone. Stimulating this region during an acupuncture treatment will help strengthen the body and relieve tension in the back and throughout the body.
Chances are, when you come in for an acupuncture treatment, you will have needles placed in all or most of these areas. Acupuncture treatments have also been proven to help release endorphins, which can help provide instant relief to people who are dealing with debilitating stress and anxiety.
In addition to providing an instant sense of relief, acupuncture can deliver additional benefits that will help alleviate ongoing stress, anxiety and tension. This includes:
- Headache relief
- Improved immune function
- Increased mental clarity
- More energy
- Reducing inflammation, neck tension and back pain
- Reduced stress-related cravings
Together, all of these benefits can help with the ongoing stress-reduction that many people receiving acupuncture are looking for.
What to Expect With Your First Acupuncture Appointment
If you are ready to give acupuncture a try, you will find that this entire process is very straightforward. Once you meet with your acupuncturist, they will ask you about your health history and do a physical examination. They may also look at your tongue shape during this time.
After the physical examination, your acupuncturist will likely ask you why you made the appointment and if you have any concerns that you want addressed—at this time, you should make sure to let your acupuncturist know that you are there for relaxation and to de-stress.
If you visit an acupuncturist that specializes is stress management and relaxation, you will likely find that their office is set up more like a relaxing spa than a medical office. Most acupuncturists will have heated beds, eye pillows, relaxing music and a calming environment that will help get you ready to relax and unwind.
Once you are settled in, your acupuncturist will being the treatment. To begin, the acupuncturist will check precise acupoint and stimulate them. These points are going to be in different parts of the body.
These points are stimulated with these very fine needles. All licensed acupuncturists are required by law to use disposable, sterile needles.
You will hardly notice any pain or discomfort when these fine needles are placed on the body. Here are some of the normal sensations that you can expect when receiving acupuncture treatments:
- Most patients report a deep sense of relaxation right away
- Some patients may feel a vague sensation of numbness or tingling or even a dull ache in the area that the needle is inserted
- Some patients may experience a sensation of energy spreading along channels in the body
- Many patients won’t even feel pain when the needle is inserted into the skin
Once the needles are placed, they will stay on these points for anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes before they are removed.
During this time, you will likely start to enter a deep sense of relaxation. Studies show that body temperatures may lower, and respiration will slow down. Muscle tension may also dissipate during this time and the mind will likely enter a sense of calm.
A majority of people who undergo acupuncture treatments will enter into a very deep, relaxed state. Many even fall asleep.
Research shows that acupuncture treatments will cause the body to release neuro transmitters like serotonin and endorphins. In many situations, patients will experience relaxation and stress relief after the first treatment. The acupuncturist may also recommend additional, ongoing treatments.
One of the best things about this treatment is that you will not only experience immediate stress relief, but ongoing stress relief—with virtually no chances of side effects. According to most studies the only real complications or side effects that people often experience with acupuncture is slight soreness following a session, which typically goes away within a few hours.
So, Should You Try Acupuncture For Relaxation?
If you have been considering acupuncture for relaxation, there is no better time than the present to give this a try. Most people are great candidates for acupuncture. However, those with hemophilia and other related blood disorders should not try acupuncture, unless they get approval from a doctor or explore non-needle options.
Before getting started with an acupuncture treatment for the first time, make sure to do your research and find a licensed acupuncturist in your area that you feel comfortable with and ask plenty of questions before you get started.
There are so many people who are able to experience outstanding benefits of acupuncture, without having any pain or illnesses that need to be treated specifically. Many times, acupuncturists will not only get to work right away to provide relaxation and stress relief, but recommend an ongoing treatment plan that can help you maintain a sense of calm and relaxation moving forward, so they can enjoy a lower level of stress during their life.