Conditions that are characterized by tension and pain, such as neck pain, jaw pain, certain types of headaches, low back pain, and tennis elbow usually respond quite well and quickly to acupuncture because acupuncture relieves the causal muscle tension.
Acupuncture is also very helpful for treatment of injuries. Acupuncture speeds up the healing process, relieves tension and pain, and in cases of nerve damage, stimulates nerves and muscles, preventing atrophy and permanent degradation.
Hormonal Effects of Acupuncture
The human body’s regulation of hormone levels is very complicated, and to some extent, not clearly understood. Hormones affect everything from digestion, mood, emotions, menstruation, fertility, blood pressure, hydration, inflammation, appetite, healing, hair growth, and weight regulation, to name a few.
To complicate things, hormones intended for one of the body’s processes, when unbalanced, can affect other processes. Of particular significance is that stress hormone levels throw off the balance of other hormones. Every person is affected differently. For some, stress may result in weight gain, for others, depression, high blood pressure, PMS, tendonitis, or irritable bowel syndrome.
For this reason, because acupuncture reduces stress hormone levels, it is effective at alleviating many symptoms which people do not intuitively equate with hormones.
Neurological Effects of Acupuncture
Sciatica, thoracic outlet syndrome, and some types of low-back pain, conditions caused by pressure on nerves by soft tissue, causing nerve pain, tingling, numbness, and even weakness, are helped by acupuncture because acupuncture relaxes the muscles which are exerting pressure on the nerves.
Bell’s Palsy, and trigeminal neuralgia are nerve conditions that usually involve pressure on the facial and trigeminal nerves as they necessarily pass through small holes in the skull. Acupuncture helps by reducing the inflammation and the local muscle tension. A traditional Chinese treatment which we sometimes use, in addition to acupuncture, is moxibustion; moxibustion aids by using infrared radiation to increase drainage of interstitial fluid, reducing swelling and pressure.
Mental-Emotional Effects of Acupuncture
There are different theories about the various causes of depression. One of the major theories, The Stress-Vulnerability Model points at stress. Stress causes an increase in blood-cortisol levels, something measurable in a majority of depressed patients. The topic, to some extent resembles the chicken and the egg discussion; however, because of how hormones work, regardless of which came first, stress reduction causes a decrease in cortisol levels, alleviating depression.
Acupuncture helps with this. It is also why exercise, good sleep, diet, meditation, a healthy social life, positive psychology, and cognitive behavioral techniques also help. Stewart helps, not only with acupuncture, but also by engaging, encouraging, providing accountability, help and advice about other beneficial activities.