Acupuncture is a technique in which practitioners stimulate specific points on the body—most often by inserting thin needles through the skin. It is one of the practices used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Many patients are concerned that acupuncture will be painful or uncomfortable. However, acupuncture is neither. Most people feel very little when the needle is inserted and many find acupuncture very relaxing! After the needles are inserted many people, including myself feel different sensations around the needle points such as mild pulsations or a feeling of heaviness, both of which are normal.
TCM views the body as a cohesive whole, a complex system where everything within it is inter-connected, and each part of the system can affect other parts. They believe and teach that lack of balance within this biological system can be the precursor to chronic illness.
Acupuncture acts to re-balance the energy, or qi, within the body to bring the body back to health.
There have been extensive studies conducted on acupuncture, especially for chronic pain conditions such as: back and neck pain, osteoarthritis/knee pain, and headache.
Acupuncture has also been found to be effective for fertility, depression, anxiety and smoking cessation. In one clinical trial on depression, patients on antidepressants who received acupuncture did significantly better than those who just took medication. Other studies have shown that acupuncture can help to regulate female menstrual cycles and enhance fertility, including improving outcomes in IVF therapy.
Acupuncture is an option for individuals that are seeking a mind–body intervention. It is a therapy that does not just focus physical symptoms. One of the reasons acupuncture may have a beneficial role for depression is that depression is experienced both physically and emotionally. Using acupuncture, or other mind body techniques can be an beneficial intervention for improving mood, decreasing symptoms of anxiety and promoting relaxation.
Stress reduction is a vital aspect of addressing thyroid disease or autoimmune condition's like Hashimoto's. Many patients report they experienced a high amount of stress prior to the onset of thyroid disease. Due to hormonal imbalances and fatigue, living with thyroid disease can also make it very difficult to deal with stress! Acupuncture can offer stress relief and a sense of "rejuvenation".
There are also specific acupuncture points on the body that can help to stimulate thyroid function. During my years in clinical practice I have found acupuncture to be a very effective tool to help encourage hormonal balance. I personally love acupuncture and find it really evokes a sense of inner calm.
Have you tried acupuncture? I would love to hear your thoughts, leave your comments below!
1. Vickers, A.J. & Cronin, A.M. & Maschino, Alexandra & Lewith, George & Macpherson, Hugh & Foster, N.E. & Sherman, Karen & Witt, Claudia & Linde, K & Cramer, Holger. (2012). Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Individual Patient Data Meta-analysis. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Akupunktur. 55. 24–25. 10.1016/j.dza.2012.11.010
2. Cochrane, Suzanne & Smith, Caroline & Possamai-Inesedy, Alphia & Bensoussan, Alan. (2014). Acupuncture and women's health: An overview of the role of acupuncture and its clinical management in women's reproductive health. International journal of women's health. 6. 313-325. 10.2147/IJWH.S38969.