In holistic dermatology acupuncture is generally a secondary treatment, with herbal medicine being primary.
That said – acupuncture is effective to relieve stress when it plays an underlying role in flare-ups of chronic skin conditions. Regular acupuncture treatment is often beneficial in cases of psoriasis, eczema, acne, rosacea and other skin problems.
In addition, acupuncture is highly successful to treat the pain associated with shingles and to expedite healing.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of very thin needles into specific points that were mapped out by Chinese doctors over two thousand years ago. It is popularly used today to restore physical and emotional balance and promote healing. Acupuncture is safely and effectively combined with herbal medicine to treat the “whole person” – taking into account each individual’s health picture. Acupuncture needles are flexible, sterile and disposable. Most people find treatments to be relaxing and enjoyable, and report that the insertion of needles is relatively painless. Patients describe a feeling of complete relaxation during treatment – with many actually falling asleep. Following treatment people generally feel calm, but also energized and able to proceed with their day with more stamina.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Chinese medicine teaches that acupuncture needles stimulate the body’s Qi, or life-force energy. Western science doesn’t acknowledge the existence of Qi, but they are looking for ways to explain why acupuncture works.
What have they come up with so far?
Scientists aren’t sure how exactly it works, but they have discovered some of the ways acupuncture positively affects the body and emotions. Neuro-imaging studies show acupuncture to calm areas of the brain that register pain. Brain activation can be seen in those areas involved in rest and recuperation. Many acupuncture points correspond to nerve bundles or muscle trigger points. Ultrasound imaging shows that acupuncture increases blood flow in treated areas, and thermal imaging shows it can make inflammation subside. Scientific studies have shown acupuncture to stimulate the release of endorphins, opiates naturally produced in the brain that are naturally occurring painkillers.
Regardless of how it works, clinical research confirms its efficacy in conditions ranging from pain to insomnia to digestive problems. The World Health Organization supports the use of acupuncture in many conditions.
Acupuncture needles may cause small bruises every now and then, but one of the greatest benefits of acupuncture is that there are no serious side effects.
Most significantly, patients enjoy treatment, see countless benefits and report an improvement in quality of life.