I constantly have people ask me questions about acupuncture. As a Fellow of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture, I have been providing acupuncture for about two decades and have treated thousands of patients for a wide range of health issues. I have researched the effects of acupuncture since the 1970s. To say acupuncture’s effect on human physiology is fascinating is an understatement.
Let me first begin this discussion of acupuncture with a note that I practice contemporary clinical acupuncture. That means it is based on studying the actual physiological effects of acupuncture on people. And yes, the effects and benefits of acupuncture are very real. I literally see peoples’ lives changed daily as a direct result of their clinical acupuncture treatment.
Contemporary clinical acupuncture involves insertion of tiny, painless needles into specific points on the body in order to obtain a desired physiological effect on the actual function of the patient. Research has revealed over the past few decades that contemporary clinical acupuncture produces several significant, observable effects on how the body functions. It impacts neurological function, hormone function, chronic pain response, digestive function, sleep quality, joint function and other aspects of how our bodies work. Remarkably, in most cases, the treatments help the body function better than before treatment.
Some effects of acupuncture can be nearly instantaneous. Other effects take time. Most people do see significant benefits from our acupuncture treatment although like any other medical treatment the outcomes vary from one patient to another.
We use acupuncture daily to help with a number of conditions, especially chronic pain. A number of local medical physicians have found that referring patients for our contemporary clinical acupuncture to help treat patients with chronic pain has reduced their need for pain drugs including opioids.
In regards to acupuncture being used for weight loss, there have been numerous studies to address that. There have been multiple studies that demonstrate a considerable benefit for patients that had acupuncture during their weight loss program.
Some of the big issues involved with the success of any weight loss program involve metabolism, cravings, obesity hormones, overall health status, sleep quality and level of activity. In other words, weight loss is not just a generic mathematical equation of “eat less plus move more equals lose weight.”
Acupuncture has been used to help address some of the reasons that some people encounter difficulty with typical weight loss plans.
As an example, some people have found that they have better energy, healthier sleep and better moods when they have acupuncture along with their dietary regimen to lose weight. Healthy sleep has been found to be critically important to maintaining a healthy body weight and in balancing hormone levels.
Likewise, mood enhancement and cravings control can be very important in sticking with a sensible weight loss plan. Acupuncture has been shown to be helpful for these issues.
Many people have found that they have limitations that prevent them from becoming more active. For example, they may have chronic pain or arthritis affecting their feet, knees, hips, back, neck, shoulders or other areas that limit their ability to increase their activity level during weight loss efforts. Contemporary, clinical acupuncture can be a tremendous help in relieving chronic joint pain and helping restore more normal movement ability.
Your body’s hormone system plays a profound role in weight loss efforts. Studies have shown that acupuncture may help balance the levels of the hormones involved with metabolism, stress, hunger and cravings.
Having acupuncture treatment by itself does not guarantee success with weight loss. It must be used with a successful approach of nutritional and activity level balance. Acupuncture is simply a treatment that may be helpful to enhance a person’s success with weight loss. Acupuncture may be used to help a person overcome challenges that have made weight loss difficult in the past.
Acupuncture is usually provided in a series of sessions. For example, a weight loss patient may begin with two or possibly three acupuncture treatments a week, then be able to reduce their frequency of treatments as they progress. As with any other successful approach to weight loss, it will usually be necessary for a patient to follow through for at least 6-12 weeks for best results.
One of the most frequent questions asked about acupuncture other than “Does it work?’ is, “Does it hurt?” In our clinic we use the finest quality needles manufactured in state-of-the-art facilities in Japan and the gentlest of techniques to provide truly painless acupuncture. Only occasionally does a patient feel a tiny, momentary mosquito-bite sensation. Usually there is no pain at all.
If you have tried to lose weight and encountered difficulty, it may be worth it to try contemporary clinical acupuncture to aid your progress.
Dr. Mark Kestner is a chiropractor in Murfreesboro. His office is at 1435 NW Broad St.