If you've ever wanted to try acupuncture I highly recommend you do. Many years ago, in fact, back in 1997, a car accident left me with what seemed like minor whiplash. However, my back has never been the same again and after many treatments over the years including chiropractic, osteopathic, Bowen, massage, and physiotherapy, nothing has had the impact that acupuncture has.
Over the last couple of months I've been seeing a new acupuncturist a friend recommended and my experience has been phenomenal, and the results, life-changing in way more than just my back.
Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years. The process sees very thin needles inserted into various specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow which promotes healing. With the body's nervous system stimulated, natural painkillers (endorphins and serotonin) are released, blood flow improves, and inflammation decreases. When the body is in the state in which it can heal, it does. This ancient practice has become widely accepted and very popular for treating numerous ailments.
During my most recent treatment regime, my acupuncturist in addition to treating my back issues has addressed menopausal-related things such as hot flashes, anxiety, and the lack of energy I experience at times. The outcomes have been nothing less than remarkable.
These areas are where I have noticed a miraculous improvement:
Pain. For several years now I've experienced pain in my left hip, left sacroiliac joint, and left buttock. Regular massage certainly helped manage the pain, but nothing has been as effective as acupuncture. Now, the pain has gone in all of these areas, I can move more freely, carry out regular everyday tasks that once caused pain (gardening, lifting, sitting or standing for long periods), and sleep without being woken by the pain.
Sleep. Leading up to menopause and in the 5-7 years following, sleep has been a major issue for me. Between waking regularly to use the bathroom, night sweats, hot flashes, and earlier on, a racing heart, sleep disturbances plagued me. However over the last few weeks I've been getting to sleep more easily, waking only once or twice, and feeling refreshed and ready to get up after 7-8 hours whereas previously I'd be dragging myself around after 9+ hours sleep. Acupuncture can help regulate the body's natural sleep-awake cycle, hence the improvements I'm seeing.
Anxiety. Having suffered from anxiety as an adult and younger woman, which was massively reduced following psychotherapy, I was surprised to have it return as I went through menopause. Acupuncture has changed everything. I'm calm and relaxed, have no anxious thoughts or feelings at all, and feel like the a completely different person. With the release of endorphins (a natural mood-booster) feelings of anxiety (and depression) can lift significantly for people.
Mental clarity. The other area I've had trouble with is mental clarity and being able to focus. Another menopausal issue that had definitely improved, however after having COVID-19 in late November 2022, I noticed a definite decline. Now, I feel as though my mind is clear and sharp and I'm able to focus for long periods of time as I could a good few years ago. Again, it's the endorphins that acupuncture released that are responsible for this improvement.
Energy. The difference in my energy levels is nothing short of a miracle. From being very inactive for a period of time and struggling to get half a days work done, and keep up with things around the house and garden, I'm now waking at 5.00am most mornings eager to get up and start my day. Heading off for a walk first thing in the morning, then after a full days work, I'm happily cooking a meal, doing chores, and anything else that is on my list.
Traditional Chinese medicine works on the qi (the body's energy), a vital force that flows through meridians (12 areas in the body that correspond to different bodily parts). Often the flow of energy is blocked which can lead to fatigue, weakness, and other issues. Acupuncture stimulates this system to restore the flow of energy and increase vitality.
Immunity. This might sound a little odd, but I feel like my system is far stronger (physically, psychologically, and spiritually) due to this treatment regime. I've noticed an improvement in the way I breathe, the strength I feel in my physical self, and a sense of inner strength I've not experienced previously. Acupuncture can increase the production of white blood cells and antibodies, strengthening the immune system.
There are many other benefits to acupuncture, and health conditions it is incredibly helpful for. In researching this article I noted that digestive issues such as constipation, acid reflux, and irritable bowel syndrome can be positively impacted. It can be useful for infertility by regulating hormone levels and increasing blood flow to reproductive organs. Acupuncture can be beneficial for mental health conditions too, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
Acupuncture is a safe, effective, and non-invasive treatment for many health issues. It promotes balance and harmony in the body, creating an environment in which the body can heal itself—it's quite remarkable.