Benefits Of Acupuncture & A Brief History

Discover the power of acupuncture for holistic fulll-body healing and biohacking your well-being.

In our relentless pursuit of happiness and productivity, the vital connection between our well-being and overall success can’t be overlooked.

After my body shut down from a car accident, triggered by a pandemic and years of self-imposed high standards, needles became my favorite form of healing because it gets right to the point.

We’re all about getting right to the point.

Sure massages are great but I don’t waste my time going to see an RMT because my issues are deeper and the needles get right into it. I do my myofascial release with (foam rolling and stretching) at home because time is money, and all these appointments ruin your day with the constant task switching.

Along with IMS, acupuncture is one of the many healing modalities that truly helped me heal from years of chronic pain.

What Is Acupuncture?

According to the profound wisdom of traditional Chinese medicine, there’s this concept of vital energy called Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) that flows through your body along pathways known as meridians. When this energy gets blocked or disrupted, it throws your body out of balance, wreaking havoc upon your physical and emotional equilibrium.

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine and sterilized needles into specific areas of your body. These needles stimulate sensory nerves and lymphatic pathways beneath your skin and muscles. As a result, your body releases chemicals that affect your muscles, spinal cord, and brain.

These biochemical changes can stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities, benefiting both your physical and emotional well-being.

The Difference Between Eastern & Western Medicine

Unlike allopathic Western medicine, eastern Chinese medicine isn’t broken up into several distinct systems that address individual aspects of the body. Eastern medicine treats the body as a whole complex unified system and treatments are uniquely individualized for each person.

Wellness requires long-term thinking.

One of the common misconceptions about acupuncture is that some people believe it doesn’t work because there isn’t enough concrete clinical evidence. They think that if they can’t see it, it must not exist.

Here’s the thing: acupuncture is widely used because it works. The problem lies in our desire for instant results, inconsistency in treatment, or not finding a skilled acupuncturist.

Healing requires a comprehensive lifestyle shift, so acupuncture isn’t a magical cure-all on its own but be part of a holistic approach that includes meditation, exercise, nutrition, sleep, healthy thoughts and relationships, physiotherapy, and other healing modalities.

A Brief History Of Acupuncture

Believe it or not, this practice dates back to 6000 BCE. Can you imagine using sharp bones instead of the fine needles we have today? Cringe.

Fast forward to 198 BC, ancient Chinese documents called the “Silk Scrolls” were discovered, shedding light on meridians and Qi. Those early practitioners believed that balance and health stemmed from the flow of Qi, and any imbalance would result in illness.

By 100 BC, acupuncture procedures were even documented in The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine. Over the centuries, the precise acupuncture points were developed and embraced in China before making their way to Europe and the Americas from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century.

However, with the influx of Western medicine in the 18-19th century, acupuncture fell out of favor. It wasn’t until 1949, under Communist China, that it experienced a revival. And now, with the internet and a global focus on wellness, eastern medicine, including acupuncture, is gaining even more recognition.

Does Acupuncture Hurt?

Not going to sugarcoat it but some of the acupuncture needles hurt initially if you are trying to go deep into tight muscles (like me) but you can reframe this as a chance to get over your fear of needles!

If you have particularly inflamed points, you may still experience an ongoing ‘pain’ that’s hard to describe after the needle is inserted but it feels more like a ‘tight tension’ which will loosen throughout your session.

Pain Relief Tips

1) Reframing Is Key

Many people are afraid of needles. When the needles are going in, I remind myself that it’s not the needles that are hurting me but my tight muscles. The needles are ridiculously thin anyway.

2) Delayed Gratification: Play The Long Game

Besides, it hurts but only for a few seconds so get over it. 🤓

I always tell myself: if it hurts, I probably need it. If you have a good acupuncturist, sometimes you may even feel a few intense zaps if they hit close to a nerve but trust me, it’s worth it!

I go to acupuncture for maintenance to maintain my quality of life because my shoulder and back seem to be forever agitated from my car accident and it’s well worth it.

3) Increase Overall Pain Tolerance

Developing high pain tolerance (or grit) through other activities such as cycling in bad weather, cold showers, and saunas will help make this easier.

Trust me. All that intentional pain we put ourselves through really comes in handy!

Good things don’t come easy. If you’re willing to get uncomfortable, you will be rewarded.

I’m used to getting poked 60–70x per week (combo of IMS + acupuncture) so needles don’t even phase me anymore. I get excited about needles because I only see the benefits. Take advantage of the power of neuroplasticity to rewire your brain.

Just like cycling and climbing mountains, you don’t remember the pain but only how it makes you feel after.

If you want to level up, I highly recommended putting yourself through discomfort as much as possible because what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Mindset Matters

Your mindset before doing anything is the only thing that matters. If you go into a challenging situation with a positive mindset, you’ll get better results because we create our reality with our thoughts.

The placebo effect is the real deal.

If you truly believe something will work, your brain will produce the corresponding chemicals it needs to help you heal. This is in the realm of ‘woo-hoo’ but with new science emerging, this is finally changing.

From my personal experience, belief and self-confidence are essential to success.

Benefits of Acupuncture

  • Acupuncture will release tight muscles. The needles can also go deeper than massage and most times, the effects are instant. If your muscles are tight, it will restrict blood flow to certain points in your body which will create chronic issues if left untreated.
  • Acupuncture promotes circulation. If your muscles are tight, it inhibits the flow of blood through the body. Good circulation is the secret to good health.
  • Acupuncture relieves pain. It stimulates your nervous system by sending signals to the brain to release endorphins, our body’s natural pain relievers.
  • Acupuncture may increase your pain tolerance. Everyone’s session is different but mine are usually pretty uncomfortable because of my lifestyle and being an athlete. But the more discomfort I go through, the higher my pain tolerance. Honestly, it is quite addicting.
  • Acupuncture relieves stress. The endorphins released also boost mood! You get time to relax and meditate as you lay under the warm lamp. This is one of the reasons why this is my favorite treatment. I always come out of it with increased theta state brainwaves and I feel super mellowed out. I also had my first out-of-body meditation experience a couple of months ago during acupuncture! More on that next time…
  • Acupuncture increases self-awareness. If you have a good acupuncturist, make the most of your sessions, and ask questions like me, you can learn so much about the interconnectedness of your body.

Acupuncture vs IMS

Aside from acupuncture, when it comes to addressing muscle tension and pain, another popular approach is IMS (intramuscular stimulation)

While both techniques involve the insertion of fine needles into the body, they have distinct differences. IMS focuses on targeting specific muscles to provide quick relief for tension and pain points. It is more localized and immediate in its effects. On the other hand, acupuncture takes a holistic approach, considering the interconnectedness of the body and mind.

I do both weekly because they provide different benefits.

Here is how I view the difference between acupuncture and IMS:

Benefits of IMS

  • Focuses on targeting specific muscle areas.
  • Offers immediate results for targeted muscle release.
  • Provides quick relief for muscle tension and pain points.
  • Primarily addresses physical discomfort and muscle-related issues.
  • Involves the use of thin, sterilized needles inserted directly into tight muscles.

Benefits of Acupuncture

  • A more holistic approach to long-term wellness.
  • Considers the interconnectedness of the body and mind.
  • Involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body.
  • Provides a meditative experience, promoting relaxation and mental well-being.
  • Stimulates sensory nerves and lymphatic pathways, releasing chemicals in muscles, spinal cord, and brain.
  • Offers a broader range of benefits beyond muscle tension, including improved circulation, pain relief, stress reduction, and increased self-awareness.

TL;DR: Benefits of Acupuncture

  • Get over your fear of needles with reframing.
  • Wellness requires long-term thinking and a holistic approach.
  • Play the long game. Needles may hurt but it gets right to the point.
  • Acupuncture may hurt especially if you have extremely tight muscles— depending on how deep you need to go. But that “pain” is simply a result of muscle tension, not the needle.
  • Acupuncture should be used in conjunction with other treatments and should not be looked at as a miracle cure.
  • Some conditions may require multiple and consistent treatments.
  • Different doctors have different methods so you need to find one that works for you. If you had a bad first experience, don’t give up and try a different practitioner.
  • There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Implement different types of treatments (physiotherapy, chiropractor, lymphatic massage, etc) instead of relying on just one when it comes to healing.
  • Make sure your acupuncturist is well-trained because it can cause serious adverse effects, including infections, punctured organs, collapsed lungs, and injury to the central nervous system. I also recommend finding one who is also a traditional Chinese medicine doctor (TCM).

If you are in the Vancouver area, I highly highly recommend Tracy Chang at the Sinclair Center! She appears a lot in my daily gratitude journal. 🙏

Your Next Step: Ready To Level Up?

Now, many people are unable to see past their limiting beliefs because they don’t have control of their biology. Take back control of your physiology to create confidence and higher emotions, leading to better habits, decisions and outcomes.

See the link there? It all goes back to YOU: mind + body + spirit. We can show you how:

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🌿 HEALTH: peak performance & flow coach, holistic nutritionist, cyclist, athlete. 💸 WEALTH: Serial entrepreneur, agency owner, creative strategist, writer, columnist, designer, web developer, copy-writer, digital marketer, e-commerce consultant. 🔥 INTJ. Libra. Contrarian thinker. Loves to be intellectually stimulated. READ MY STORY →

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