Top 5 Conditions That Acupuncture Can Help

Avatar photo Staff January 13, 2021

Have you heard of acupuncture, but aren’t really sure how it works or how it might help you?

Developed more than 5,000 years ago, acupuncture is a type of energy medicine based on the ancient Chinese theory that your energy, also known as “chi” or life force, flows through your body through energy pathways known as meridians. When your chi is deficient, in excess, or blocked in certain areas, imbalances may create disease in the organs that are associated with those areas.

To regulate the flow of chi throughout your body, acupuncturists place very fine needles in specific points, called acupuncture points, directing energy to different parts of the body.

Although acupuncture was developed thousands of years before modern medicine was invented, Dr. Kelsie Lazzell, DC, DN, a licensed acupuncturist at the Center for Holistic Medicine, says part of the reason acupuncture works so well is because acupuncture points are located at points in the body that also have a collection of nerve bundles and vascular bundles, and by putting the needles in those spots, the brain draws awareness to those areas and initiates a healing response there.

“Otherwise, that area goes unnoticed and goes dormant to the brain because the brain doesn’t know there’s a problem there,” she says.  

Studies have shown that acupuncture can have a real, positive impact on many different medical conditions. And acupuncture has very few side effects, making it a safe alternative to taking many long-term medications.

Here are five of the top conditions that can be helped by acupuncture.

  1. Stress and Anxiety
    During the pandemic and the turmoil of recent events, Lazzell says she’s seen a lot of people seeking out acupuncture treatments as a way of reducing their anxiety and stress. In fact, one study from 2015 showed that acupuncture improved symptoms for people with anxiety who didn’t respond to other treatments, including psychotherapy and medication. 

    On a basic level, Lazzell says acupuncture can help reduce anxiety and lessen stress simply because when you spend 40 minutes in a session lying still and breathing deeply, you’re going to feel more relaxed. “How often do we get that as adults?” Lazzell says.

    Plus, Lazzell says acupuncture can help direct more blood flow to the brain, which can help improve imbalances of your neurotransmitters, and to the gut, where many neurotransmitters are produced. “When you have better nervous system flow, you feel better overall,” she says.

    (If you’re looking for more ways to reduce stress, stay tuned for our February blog, where we will discuss our holistic approach to stress and emotions.)
  2. Insomnia and Sleep Issues
    Lazzell says acupuncture can also significantly improve insomnia and sleep issues, mainly because by reducing anxiety, it allows people to feel calmer and more relaxed when it’s time to fall asleep. In fact, in a recent analysis of 1,108 patients, acupuncture was found to work better than a placebo in improving sleep quality, sleep duration and ability to fall asleep.
  3. Chronic Pain
    With the opioid crisis still raging throughout the United States, many people are seeking alternative treatments for chronic pain that don’t involve medication. And one of the safest and most effective treatments you can try is acupuncture. Multiple studies in the last ten years have found that acupuncture was more effective than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen) for treating chronic knee pain and inflammation.

    “Acupuncture does a nice job of addressing old injuries that are likely still causing issues,” Lazzell explains. For example, an old hip injury may be causing a blockage in energy, which may be causing pain in your lower back.

    Lazzell says as people get older, they tend to become less attuned to their bodies and more able to dampen their stress response, which makes pain linger longer. Acupuncture helps wake your body up to certain areas that need to be addressed. “As we get older, we do a nice job of walling off problems in our body and we can’t heal as easily,” she says.
  4. Digestion Problems
    Acupuncture is also an effective treatment for dealing with digestion issues. “I use a lot of acupuncture points on the belly so we’re creating micro-traumas in that area so the body sends more blood to the gut and to support the healing force there,” Lazzell explains. There are also points specific to address digestive complaints such as speeding up a slow digestive time or increasing gastric acid production.
  5. Fertility and Women’s Health Issues
    Dr. Lazzell often uses acupuncture to treat women who are trying to regulate their menstrual cycle, who are struggling with infertility, and to support pregnancy and labor induction. Using localized acupuncture points near the uterus helps direct healing energy and blood flow to that area. “Just by doing a session, it also helps the patient bring mental awareness to that area so they can send good energy to there,” she says.

    And acupuncture can also help women reduce anxiety during their pregnancy so they can improve their sleep and have an easier labor and delivery. 

Want to try an acupuncture session? Now offering 30-minute acupuncture sessions with Dr. Kelsie Lazzell for only $50 through Jan. 31! Schedule an appointment today.