Great Benefits of Acupuncture

At the Toronto Health Centre, both our Chiropractor and Physiotherapist are trained acupuncturists and both use acupuncture with a variety of their patients as part of their treatment plans. Many individuals come to us with preconceived notions about what acupuncture can do for them but we’re here to explain what acupuncture can possibly do for you! Though acupuncture has been shown to have several benefits on the body, here are some of the more recently studied topics you may be less familiar with. Enjoy!

Chronic Pain

acupuncture back manRecent studies have displayed that acupuncture can help with chronic pain as well. With acupuncture, thin needles are inserted into layers of fat or facia to subsequently interact with the nerves that innervate them. Therefore, as acupuncture involves interaction with the body’s nervous system, it helps to modulate centrally maintained chronic pain states through altering neuroplasticity mechanisms. Regarding the shoulder and neck area specifically, studies have also displayed that adequate acupuncture treatment reduces the intensity and frequency of muscle pain, decreases the degree of headaches, and cause a number of acupuncture trigger points (locations where the needles are placed) to be less tender after treatment. Studies have also followed patients for three years after their acupuncture treatment plans were over and many reported less pain than before they had acupuncture.

Muscle Reactivation

acupuncture on leg

Humans have evolved in many ways over time, but the need for physical activity has remained constant over generations for the survival of the human race. In modern society, high psychological stress levels combined with minimal motor activity has left individuals with decreased muscle tone and

repeated the monotonous activity, further resulting in pain and functional disease. As we decrease the afferent input (stimulation) to our bodies’ nervous system, the connection between the nervous system and muscular system gets lost. Alongside the engagement of physical activity, acupuncture can assist with the improvement of neuromuscular activation to propel your body back to performing optimally.

A common example of where acupuncture is used for this purpose is the glutes. Many individuals do not activate their glutes on a daily basis, but little do they know that glute activation can have a huge impact on maintaining proper gait and relieving muscle tightness off your thighs and lower back. As sitting for long periods of time has become a societal norm, the number of individuals experiencing back pain and tightness has exponentially risen. Activating your gluteus muscles through acupuncture treatment can potentially relieve stress off of those areas, further helping to reduce tightness, strain, and pain.

Improved Sleep & Mood

acupuncture on shouldersStudies have concluded that acupuncture significantly increases delta wave activity which is associated with increased quality and duration of sleep. Acupuncture also lowers alpha and beta wave activity which are associated with wakefulness and being alert and attentive. With acupuncture, beta-endorphin levels increase which influences mood as they are responsible for feelings of euphoria and general well-being.

Are you a woman currently experiencing menopause? If so, acupuncture may be for you! Recent studies have associated acupuncture therapy with a reduction in sleep disturbances specifically for women currently experiencing sleep disturbances due to menopause. Acupuncture may help to increase estradiol levels as estrogen levels decrease during menopause, further helping to keep levels of other hormones, like the follicle stimulating hormone, in balance. Studies have also demonstrated improved mood amongst fibromyalgia patients after receiving acupuncture treatment over a period of three weeks.

For further benefits of acupuncture and the different types of acupuncture practiced, please speak to either our Chiropractor, Dr. Ryan Albert, or our Physiotherapist, Ankur Patel.

Works Cited

Andersson, S., and T. Lundeberg. “Acupuncture - from Empiricism to Science: Functional Background to Acupuncture Effects in Pain and Disease.” Medical Hypotheses, vol. 45, 1995, pp. 271–281.
Bennett, Robert. “Myofascial Pain Syndromes and Their Evaluation.” Clinical Rheumatology, vol. 21, no. 3, June 2007, pp. 427–445., doi:10.1016/j.berh.2007.02.014.
Chiu, Hsiao-Yean, et al. “Acupuncture to Reduce Sleep Disturbances in Perimenopausal and Postmenopausal Women: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Obstetrics & Gynecology, 1 Mar. 2016, pp. 507–515., doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000001268 .
Guo-Sheng, Yi, et al. “Modulation of Electroencephalograph Activities by Manual Acupuncture Stimulation in Healthy Subjects: An Autoregressive Spectral Analysis. .” Chinese Physiology, vol. 22, no. 2, 2013. B.
Hea, Dong, et al. “Effect of Acupuncture Treatment on Chronic Neck and Shoulder Pain in Sedentary Female Workers: a 6-Month and 3-Year Follow-up Study .” Norway National Institute of Occupational Health, 21 Jan. 2004.

Written by:
Alyssa Rivera
Clinical Assistant, Bachelor of Science Candidate
Toronto Health Centre