You may know that acupuncture is an excellent holistic medicine for pain relief. Many patients initially come for neck, shoulder or back pain but also experience relief of anxiety, stress, and depression. It seems miraculous that just a few needles can have such a positive impact on so many aspects of health. This is because acupuncture has been scientifically proven to have an effect on the brain.

Here is the science behind the benefits of acupuncture for both physical and mental disease:

  1. It releases neuropeptides into the central nervous system. This enhances
    communication between neurons and effector cells and stimulates your
    body’s self-healing process.
  2. It releases endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers.
  3. It constricts blood vessels and releases vasodilators, which decrease cerebral
    blood pressure (headaches) and high blood pressure in the body (stress).
  4. It releases neurotransmitters to bring you out of the sympathetic nervous
    system response (“fight or flight”). This reduces anxiety, insomnia, and stress
    and benefits digestion, fertility, and circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycles).
  5. It influences the release, synthesis, and reuptake of neurotransmitters
    serotonin and dopamine. This makes acupuncture an excellent option for
    treating depression.
  6. It causes excess cortisol levels to drop. Cortisol is a hormone released by the
    adrenals when you are overly stressed. Reducing cortisol helps relieve
    stress, insomnia, blood pressure, and excess weight in the abdomen.
  7. It closes the gate on hyperactive pain signal pathways. This allows relief from
    chronic pain due to the brain being overwhelmed by neurotransmitters that
    produce the sensation of pain over a long period of time.

In today’s fast-paced world with hard deadlines and high demands of our time and energy it is no wonder we are all a little stressed. Taking care of your mind is just as important as your body and in my experience both need to be addressed in order to have improvements that are permanent.

Written By Hayley Jackson

Also published on Medium.