What is acupuncture and how does it work?
Acupuncture is actually an ancient holistic healing practice that has been around for thousands of years and has more recently been adopted by western medicine. It’s a safe, effective and painless treatment that involves the insertion of tiny, ultra-thin needles into various acupuncture points in the body that promote healing, repair and balance. These points have highly concentrated nerves, cells, lymphatics and capillaries, all of which have the power to trigger beneficial biochemical and physiological responses in our body.
Acupuncture works at the cellular level, increasing circulation, activating essential nutrients, and creating both mental and physical benefits. Some of its most significant advantages, among many others, are healing/preventing injury, reducing inflammation, improving digestion and detox, rebalancing hormones, eliminating brain fog and decreasing stress. It’s a soothing and relaxing treatment that is even known to promote deeper sleep!
During needle insertion, there is a complex “domino effect” that occurs inside our body. The needle stimulates the sensory receptor, which triggers the nerve ending, which then signals the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system. These powerful and complex interactions are responsible for regulating a number of bodily processes, such as the release of neurotransmitters and endorphins (our body’s natural “Advil”!), the regulation of serotonin (our happiness hormone) and cortisol (our stress hormone).
A Three-Pronged Approach
Regardless of our health history, age, gender or wellness goals, anyone can benefit from acupuncture treatments. Why? It a dynamic treatment that generates a wide scope of benefits. Whether the goal is to sleep better, improve digestion, reduce stress, heal an injury, boost immunity, etc. acupuncture can make it happen. It’s not technically magic, but pssst between you and us, it’s one of the reasons our patients think we create magic!
Acupuncture has so many benefits because it attacks from 3 different angles. Here’s what we mean:
1. STRESS REDUCTION: It induces a parasympathetic response
One of the systemic effects of acupuncture is that it reduces stress. Have you heard of the “fight or flight” response? This is governed by our sympathetic nervous system. On the other side of the spectrum, studies show that acupuncture promotes oxytocin to be released in the body, a hormone that regulates our parasympathetic nervous system, which is often referred to as our “rest and digest” or “calm and connect” system. Activation of this part of of nervous system allows our heart rate to slow down, blood pressure to drop and cortisol levels to be reduced, thus promoting digestion, detox, hormone regulation, relaxation and decreasing our stress/anxiety levels.
2. PAIN RELIEVER: It calms and relaxes overworked muscles/nerves
Acupuncture has been suggested in numerous studies to reduce low-grade inflammation, which is a driving factor of things like aches, pain, discomfort & other symptoms that cause our muscles and nerves to “flare” up. When acupuncture needles are inserted, they stimulate certain points on the peripheral nervous system, sending signals up the spine to our brain. From here, our brain sends signals (and triggers our body’s natural painkillers) that reduces pain & soreness, relieves any tension or tightness in muscles/joints, and increases circulation to the area being treated.
3. HYDRATION BOOSTER: It hydrates tissues at the cellular level
Acupuncture helps hydrate our fascia (which is a fluid system) at the cellular level, an essential process when it comes to injury prevention. Fascia is the connective tissue that runs through the body, providing support for and encasing our bones, muscles, nerves, blood vessels and organs! Picture a sponge. When a sponge dries out, it becomes brittle, hard, and not easily bendable. Run that sponge until water, however, and it becomes wet, hydrated and resilient. You can wring it and twist it and it will still bounce back into shape without breaking. Our fascia works the same way, which is why it’s essential to our movement and mobility to keep it hydrated. If our body is dehydrated and gets “dried out” (like a sponge), we become much more susceptible to aches, pains and injuries.
Local to Toronto? Contact us today to book a treatment!
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About The Movement Boutique in Toronto – Pilates, Chiropractic, Functional Medicine
Located on Yonge Street in Toronto, The Movement Boutique serves the areas of Summerhill, Rosedale and Yorkdale with Pilates classes and much more. Our philosophy is centred on a holistic, multimodal approach to health, grounded in the latest therapeutic techniques and clinical research. Our approach: Optimal health cannot be attained through a single therapeutic lens; injuries are often the result of a constellation of lifestyle issues, including dysfunctional movement patterns, trauma, nutritional deficiencies or destructive habits of mind.