Happy New Year - What is Healthy and Why Should I Get Acupuncture?

By Dalite Sancic, LAC, MS

Hello and Happy New Year!

We here at Rutland Integrative Health believe that you deserve to live a healthy life. But what is healthy you ask? Health is defined by the World Health Organization as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

For many of us, the concept of health is something we don’t think of often and the answer to the question may vary depending on who is answering. It is a realm that is vast and complicated for some that may be struggling with physical ailments, while others may feel it within reach physically yet struggle with poor interpersonal choices or meaningful connections and lack joy. Either way, aligning physical well-being; including sound sleep, feeling energized, and relatively well in your body along with emotional and social satisfaction is the goal. Considering the question at hand, reframing the idea of health may help us actualize our objective.

Live the life of your dreams.
— Moshe Feldenkrais

At Rutland Integrative Health, we are here to help you achieve the kind of healthy life you want. We provide acupuncture, nutritional guidance, herbal and nutraceutical prescriptions, primary care, functional testing and more. Stay connected to us this year as you pursue your health goals. Sign up for our newsletter and like us on Facebook!

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years starting in Asia. It has become well known all over the world but is still seen in the United States as a ‘new’ form of healing. Since its inception more than 2,500 years ago, acupuncture has been used in a wide variety of settings to prevent, diagnose and treat disease, as well as to improve general health. Used in rural communities as an inexpensive, minimally invasive form of medicine, it is now used alongside western treatment in hospitals around the world. There are clinics that specialize in post-stroke rehabilitation, infertility, sports medicine, cosmetic acupuncture and more. It is widely used in addiction clinics as well as in the US military to treat PTSD. Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognize and endorse acupuncture in the treatment of many conditions. The training for a Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.) is both rigorous and lengthy. It includes a 4 year Master of Science degree, 4,000 supervised clinical hours, state and national licensing requirements, as well as continuing education obligations.

So, what IS acupuncture? Acupuncture is a healing modality within the system of Traditional Chinese Medicine in which tiny, stainless steel, solid, sterile needles are inserted into the skin in specific points. Research suggests that the needling process, and other techniques used in acupuncture, produce a variety of effects in the body and the brain. One theory is that stimulated nerve fibers transmit signals to the spinal cord and brain, activating the body's central nervous system. The spinal cord and brain then release hormones responsible for making us feel less pain while improving overall health. In fact, a study using images of the brain confirmed that acupuncture increases our pain threshold, which may explain why it produces long-term pain relief. Acupuncture also increases blood circulation and body temperature, affects white blood cell activity (responsible for our immune function), reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and regulates blood sugar levels.

Acupuncture can be effective as the only treatment used, or as the support or adjunct to other medial treatment forms in many medical and surgical disorders. Acupuncture is particularly effective for pain relief and for nausea and vomiting after surgery or chemotherapy. In addition, both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the NIH recognize that acupuncture can be a helpful part of a treatment plan for many illnesses. A partial list includes: addiction (such as alcoholism), asthma, bronchitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, facial tics, fibromyalgia, headaches, irregular menstrual cycles, polycystic ovarian syndrome, low back pain, menopausal symptoms, menstrual cramps, osteoarthritis, sinusitis, spastic colon (often called irritable bowel syndrome), stroke rehabilitation, tendinitis, tennis elbow, and urinary problems, such as incontinence. You can safely combine acupuncture with prescription drugs and other conventional treatments, but it is important for your primary care physician to monitor how acupuncture treatments may be affecting your conventional therapies.

The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture also lists a wide range of conditions for which acupuncture is appropriate. In addition to those listed above, they recommend acupuncture for sports injuries, sprains, strains, whiplash, neck pain, sciatica, nerve pain due to compression, overuse syndromes similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, pain resulting from spinal cord injuries, allergies, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), sore throat (called pharyngitis), high blood pressure, gastro-esophageal reflux (felt as heartburn or indigestion), ulcers, chronic and recurrent bladder and kidney infections, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), infertility, endometriosis, anorexia, memory problems, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, sensory disturbances, drug detoxification, depression, anxiety, and other psychological disorders.

Acupuncture is typically not a one time deal. Because it takes some time before the body even feels symptoms of dis-ease, it requires a series of visits for the body to become rebalanced. For more information on ‘What to Expect’, check out our page for first-timers.

We wish you a year of health, vitality, joy and much more.