Q:What is acupuncture?
A: Acupuncture is an energetic and physical prompt to your body’s own natural self-healing abilities. The gentle insertion of hair-thin needles at specific meridian points on the body eliminates “roadblocks” in your body’s energy superhighway, allowing Qi to flow freely. In other words, it can restore communication and function of important pathways and processes in the body. Modern research studies have found that acupuncture stimulates the release of pain-relieving endorphins, increases circulation, reduces inflammation, reduces cortisol levels, boosts immunity and regulates hormones. In addition, it can help release emotional and energetic blockages.
Q: How does acupuncture boost immunity?
A: Traditionally, acupuncturists refer to the body’s immune system as Wei Qi, or defensive Qi. Acupuncturists use specific points located on meridians to boost Wei Qi in order to prevent or ward off disease and illness. If one’s Wei Qi is strong, then the body is capable of fighting off bacteria and viruses. Scientific studies show that regular acupuncture treatments can actually increase the number of T cells the body produces. T cells are a type of white blood cell that are of key importance to the immune system. Additionally, acupuncture can also reduce stress, improve sleep and decrease inflammation — all of which will help keep your immune system in fighting shape.
Q:How does stress affect my immune system?
A: Stress has a profound negative impact on the immune system. When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off pathogens is reduced. The stress hormone cortisol can suppress the effectiveness of the immune system, and that is why we become more susceptible to infections. When treating immunity, not only will acupuncturists boost your defensive Qi, they will take care to down regulate any stress manifesting in the body and mind.
Q: How often do I need to get acupuncture for stress reduction and overall well-being?
A: Initially, consistent and consecutive treatments are the best way to uplevel your immune system and overall well being. Your acupuncturist may ask to see you weekly for 4-8 weeks, then you may drop down to a maintenance plan of once every 3-4 weeks. Each patient’s needs are unique and your acupuncturist will create a customized treatment plan.
Q: What should I expect during a treatment?
A: The experience of acupuncture for most patients is pleasant and relaxing. Once the needles are placed, the patient lies quietly on the table for 20-30 minutes with low lighting, relaxing music and often with aromatherapy. Some treatments involve both face-up and face-down sets of needles. Cupping therapy is frequently used in combination with acupuncture. Patients typically leave feeling “blissed out” after they have had their “acu-nap.”
Q: What other things can I do to strengthen my immune system?
A: A well-balanced, plant based diet is key to having a healthy and robust immune response. Avoid sugar because it is a serious immune killer! Bacteria and viruses thrive on sugar, it is their source of energy. Consuming sweet snacks when sick can often make you feel worse. Alcohol will do the same, so drink in moderation and skip the sugary cocktails. Try to consume fiber filled meals with healthy fats and proteins that will keep your insulin levels stable. Use lots of herbs and spices in your cooking, as many of these have anti-viral properties. Be sure to get plenty of sleep, remember to breathe deeply and implement self-care practices to keep stress levels low. You may want to consult a licensed practitioner to discuss a customized supplement regimen.