Acupuncture is a form of medical treatment, developed over the past 2000+ years in East Asia, and used as the primary form of healthcare. Treating a broad range of conditions, from pain, stress, digestive disorders, to complex conditions such as fertility and immune health, acupuncture works by stimulating the body's own healing resources.
How does this happen? One explanation for how acupuncture helps the body to heal itself is through the immune system. While modern acupuncturists use sterile needles that are for one-time use only, the body is programmed to "overreact" to any opening in the skin. Sending a cascade of red and white blood cells to heal the tissue and destroy harmful bacteria, as well as a release of endorphins (the "feel good" neurotransmitter), this minute insertion of a hair-thin needle stimulates the body to send some healing attention to areas of chronic pain.
Where there is pain there is no free flow,
where there is free flow there is no pain.
~ Chinese proverb
Often when you are in pain, you may feel a thickened band of muscle, or even a "knot" at the center of the muscle. This tissue is hypoxic - lacking in oxygen - due to the tissue becoming so constricted that there is a lack of circulation - oxygen and nutrients into, nor waste products out of, the muscle. This results in pain, loss of strength, and over time, nerve involvement which leads to sensations such as tingling, numbness, and pain that travels down the extremities.
By stimulating the body to send blood flow to the area, and through a more complex relationship with the nervous system than this article will cover, the muscle is released, and the flow of blood then returns to the stagnant area is flushed clean, and a deep sense of relief is experienced.
Most people are surprised by just how good they feel during, and after an acupuncture session. Often patients fall asleep, or into a calm, relaxed state similar to what you may experience after a good workout, or meditation. This is due to the effect of blood circulation, and the side effects to treatment are improved sleep, digestion, and energy.
Similar to giving your car a routine tune-up, the human body greatly benefits from such preventive care, and many people find a monthly acupuncture treatment will keep them from experiencing the chronic ailments they have grown accustomed to enduring.
Pain should not be a lifestyle.