Acupuncture. The word alone conjures up images of stabbing needles – pain. In truth, acupuncture rarely causes pain. On the contrary, it is used worldwide to alleviate pain. How is that possible? Most people when they think of needles think of hypodermic needles. The association with “a shot” or immunizations forever burns in the minds of the public that needles – all needles, hurt. However, all needles are not the same. A hypodermic needle has a beveled edge, a cutting edge, designed to cut a hole in the skin in order to inject a hot burning fluid. The pain comes from the skin being cut (traumatized), the localized swelling of the injected medication, and the medication fluid itself. Unlike a hypodermic needle, acupuncture needles don’t cut the skin. They separate the fibers and slip between them – similar to fastening a brooch to your jacket. You don’t make a big hole. The pin slips between the fibers and it returns to its original position once the pin has been removed. It is the same with an acupuncture needle with its perfectly round circumference (and no cutting edge). Rarely is there bleeding. Rarely is there pain.
Acupuncture works to restore function. If your digestive system, for instance, is not working up to par, acupuncture stimulates it back into action. It works with your body’s own system to heal itself. Your body has the capacity to heal anything that’s wrong with it. So if you are ill, instead of asking “why am I ill,” ask “why am I not healing?” Acupuncture helps the body heal.
Acupuncture treats the following conditions: headaches and migraines (all types), allergies, asthma, sinus problems, pain (all types, but especially musculoskeletal and joint pain), fatigue, stress related problems, weight loss or weight gain, colds, coughs, sore throats and the flu, addictions such as smoking, drugs, food and alcohol, emotional distress, immune deficiency (such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Epstein-Barr Virus, lupus, etc.), fibromyalgia, tinnitis, shingles, herpes infections, vertigo or dizziness, sequelae of stroke (speech disturbances, memory loss, paralysis, etc.), multiple sclerosis, facial paralysis, Bell’s Palsy, Tic Douloureaux (Trigeminal Neuralgia), arthritis (rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis), sports injuries, sciatica, infertility (male and female), blood sugar issues (diabetes, hypoglycemia), weakness after surgery, illness or childbirth, menopause, PMS and other hormonal issues, and others!
Acupuncture works by releasing special chemicals (i.e. Endorphins or prostaglandins) to suppress pain, relax tight muscles and reduce stress. It reduces inflammation, swelling and muscle spasms. Acupuncture activates and strengthens the blood and energy circulation. It balances body temperature and moisture distribution. It also stimulates and strengthens the immune system. This method of healing improves digestion and gastrointestinal function. It activates and promotes the healing process and affects sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Acupuncture enhances the functions of the endocrine system, central and peripheral nervous systems. It “opens” the lungs to improve breathing and breaks up “stagnations” from trauma and other causes. It also improves cardiovascular health and helps to lose weight. Acupuncture helps to resolve bulging or “blown” discs and tinnitis (ringing in the ears). It also helps to resolve shingles and active herpes infections.
Ancient Chinese doctors discovered that the body has its own energy system or life force, which is similar to what we know of electromagnetic energy. This energy flows through the body along pathways similar to the nervous system called “Meridians” or “Channels”.
If the flow of energy through these pathways is too weak, too forceful, blocked or otherwise disturbed disease or discomfort results. Along these meridians are special points where energy is accessed. This is done by placing very fine, threadlike stainless steel, disposable needles into these acu-points, which work as “conduits” or “jumper cables” to redirect the body’s energy to restore balance.
The history of acupuncture goes back to ancient times. A few years ago, I visited a museum chronicling the founding of acupuncture and oriental medicine. There were pictures of the first acupuncture treatments, as petroglyphs, dating back 10,000 years. A needle (crude as it was!) also dated about the same period. The first text was written about 4,000 years ago. Acupuncture has indeed withstood the test of time. If it were not effective, it would never have lasted so long. By contrast, “Western medicine” (the style of medicine used today that most of us are familiar with) has only been around about 200 years.
In China, acupuncture is integrated into their medical system. In the hospital, you will find the “acupuncture department” and “herbal medicine pharmacy,” along with the laboratory, physical therapy, respiratory therapy and other such departments. It is common to see a patient being walked down the hall, wheeling his I.V. apparatus, patient gown flapping in the breeze, to come to the acupuncture department for a treatment. Herbs are infused and used in an I.V. or given along with or instead of drugs. It is an integral part of the healing of patients.
The people who love acupuncture are those who prefer the less invasive methods of resolving their health condition. They choose not to opt for surgery, or want another alternative to medications. Surgery & medications all too frequently help symptomatically, but don’t heal the patient and are commonly associated with undesirable side effects. They prefer to heal the condition, rather than to manage the symptoms.
You can experience joyous, energy filled days that are the rule - not the exception. You can have the health and vitality to enjoy your family and friends. You can feel well enough that work is no longer an exhausting drudgery. You don’t have to live in pain and fatigue. Through a combination of acupuncture, nutrition and lifestyle coaching, you can feel great again! Take your health in hand, before it gets any worse!
Dr. Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist with nearly four decades of experience. Dr. Carling is a “Health Detective,” she looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Dr. Carling considers herself a “professional student” – she has attended more than 600 post-secondary education courses related to health and healing. Dr. Carling gives lectures here in the U.S. and internationally and has been noted as the “Doctor’s Doctor”. When other healthcare practitioners hit a roadblock when treating their patients nutritionally, Dr. Carling is who they call. Dr. Carling is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d’ Alene clinic. Visit Dr. Carling’s website at www.vitalhealthcda.com to learn more about Dr. Carling, join our e-mail list and read other informative articles. Dr. Carling can be reached at 208-765-1994 or [email protected] and would be happy to answer any questions regarding this topic.