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How Does Acupuncture Heal Your Body and Relieve Pain?

Many studies have documented acupuncture's effects on the body. Researchers have proposed several processes to explain acupuncture's effects, primarily on pain.

In general, acupuncture points stimulate the central nervous system, which, in turn, releases chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals either alter the experience of pain or release other chemicals that influence the body's self-regulating systems. These biochemical changes stimulate the body's natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being.

Attention has been focused on the following theories to further explain how acupuncture affects the body:

Conduction of electromagnetic signals:

Evidence suggests that acupuncture points are strategic conductors of electromagnetic signals. Stimulating these specific points enables electromagnetic signals to be relayed at greater-than-normal rates. These signals start the flow of pain-killing bio-chemicals, such as endorphins, or release immune system cells to specific body sites.

Activation of the body's natural opioid system:

Considerable research supports the claim that acupuncture releases opioids, synthetic or naturally-occurring chemicals in the brain that reduce pain or induce sleep. These chemicals explain acupuncture's pain-relieving and relaxation effects.

Stimulation of the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland:

Joined at the base of the brain, the hypothalamus and pituitary glands are responsible for many body functions. The hypothalamus activates and controls part of the nervous system, the endocrine processes, and many bodily functions, such as sleep, regulation of temperature, and appetite. The pituitary gland supplies some of the body's needed hormones. Stimulation of these glands can result in a broad spectrum of effects on various body systems.

Change in the secretion of neurotransmitters and neurohormones:

Studies suggest that acupuncture alters brain chemistry in a positive way. This is accomplished by changing the release of neurotransmitters (biochemical substances that stimulate or inhibit nerve impulses) and neurohormones (naturally-occurring chemical substances that can change the structure or function, or impact the activity of, a body organ).

National Institutes of Health’s Perspective on Acupuncture:

Clinical studies presented by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have shown that acupuncture is an effective treatment for nausea caused by surgical anesthesia and cancer chemotherapy, as well as for dental pain after surgery.

The NIH also has found that acupuncture is useful by itself, or in combination with conventional therapies, to treat addiction, headaches, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma, and to assist in stroke rehabilitation.

What Conditions Benefit from Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine According to The World Health Organization?

Many North Americans seek acupuncture treatment for relief of chronic pain, such as arthritis or low back pain for which it has great success in treating. Acupuncture also has expanded uses in other parts of the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) lists conditions that may benefit from acupuncture. These conditions include the following:


Digestive - Abdominal pain, Constipation, Diarrhea, Hyperacidity, Indigestion

Emotional - Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia, Nervousness, Neurosis

Eye-Ear-Throat - Cataracts, Gingivitis, Poor vision, Tinnitus, Toothache

Gynecological - Infertility, Menopausal symptoms, Premenstrual symptoms

Musculoskeletal - Arthritis, Back pain, Muscle cramping, Muscle pain and weakness, Neck pain

Neurological - Sciatica, Headaches, Migraines, Neurogenic bladder dysfunction, Parkinson's disease, Postoperative pain, Stroke

Respiratory - Asthma, Bronchitis, Common cold, Sinusitis, Smoking cessation, Tonsillitis

Miscellaneous - Addiction control, Athletic performance, Blood pressure regulation, Chronic fatigue, Immune system tonification, Stress reduction


Can Acupuncture Ease the Symptoms of Menopause?

Cohen SM, Rousseau ME, Carey BL.

University of Pittsburgh, 440 Victoria Bldg, 3500 Victoria St, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.

In a randomized, 2-group clinical study, acupuncture was used for the relief of menopausal hot flushes, sleep disturbances, and mood changes. The experimental acupuncture treatment consisted of specific acupuncture body points related to menopausal symptoms. The comparison acupuncture treatment consisted of a treatment designated as a general tonic specifically designed to benefit the flow of Qi (energy). Results from the experimental acupuncture treatment group showed a decrease in mean monthly hot flush severity for site-specific acupuncture. The comparison acupuncture treatment group had no significant change in severity from baseline over the treatment phase. Sleep disturbances in the experimental acupuncture treatment group declined over the study. Mood changes in both the experimental acupuncture treatment group and the comparison acupuncture treatment group showed a significant difference between the baseline and the third month of the study. Acupuncture using menopausal-specific sites holds promise for non-hormonal relief of hot flushes and sleep disturbances.

Jennifer also offers Constitutional Facial Acupuncture

Facial Acupuncture dates back to the Sang Dynasty (960-1279 AD), where it was used on Emperors concubines as an anti-aging technique. Today, facial acupuncture is a natural alternative to cosmetic injections and more invasive cosmetic surgeries. Treatment results include reducing and diminishing deep and fine lines, bags around the eyes, sagging skin and wrinkles. Constitutional Facial Acupuncture is extremely beneficial for people with Bell’s Palsy, TMJ, neuropathies, and stroke patients.

Very fine thread-like needles are gently inserted at various acupuncture points on the face, creating a positive micro-trauma to the area. Red and White blood cells, as well as collagen and elastin rush to the area. Certain facial muscle groups are focused upon, causing them to tone and lift themselves.  Increased blood flow and Qi (pronounced ‘chee,’ the body’s natural energies) to the face will also result in a glowing complexion and improved facial colour.

Research published in the International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture, in 1996, states that 90 percent of 300 cases treated with facial acupuncture had remarkable results with the first treatment. Most noticeable results included fewer wrinkles, greater elasticity and greater tone of facial muscles.


At Squamish Integrated Health, the Constitutional Facial Acupuncture treatment works with the whole body and will address any conditions or health concerns that may be experienced.

Constitutional Benefits:

  • Improves acne (caused by hormonal imbalance)
  • Helps menopause, perimenopause, PMS and other gynecological issues
  • Helps sinus congestion and headache
  • Improves hyper- and hypothyroidism
  • Reduces symptoms of toothache, TMJ, trigeminal neuralgia, and Bell’s palsy
  • Helps headaches (except severe migraine)
  • Treats diarrhea and constipation (most digestive issues)
  • Helps to eliminate edema and puffiness
  • Benefits eyes, ears and brain
  • Can help insomnia and dizziness
  • Helps depression and aids self-esteem


Facial Benefits:

  • Improves collagen production and muscle tone
  • Helps reduce bags and sagging tendencies
  • Helps eliminate fine lines and diminish larger wrinkles
  • Improves metabolism
  • Tightens pores and brightens eyes
  • Increases local blood and lymph circulation
  • Improves facial color
  • Reduces stress and promotes total health and well-being

A treatment will include an evaluation that will take into consideration lifestyle, stress, diet, genetic inheritance, proper digestion and elimination, sleep, emotional balance, and age. Depending upon various factors, the following durations of treatment are customarily recommended:

  • Usually 12-15 treatments to experience maximum benefits;
  • 20 treatments for smokers or people whose skin tends to sag, i.e., who manifest jowls, “turkey wattles,” droopy eyes, etc.

It should be noted that age is not as crucial as might be estimated; an older patient with a healthy lifestyle may in fact have a better prognosis than a younger person who is prone to dissipate themselves.

Ideally treatments will occur 2 times per week for 60 minutes.  Follow up maintenance sessions are recommended once every 2 to 4 weeks after the duration of the treatments have been completed.


Contra- Indications:

  • Laser treatments/resurfacing must wait 21 days before treatment
  • Pregnancy
  • Problems with bleeding
  • Serious health conditions such as Cancer, AIDS, seizures, acute hepatitis, and coronary disease


Constitutional Facial Acupuncture is non-invasive, less costly than surgical procedures, and draws upon the ancient Chinese wisdom related to longevity, beauty and balance.

Acupuncture Rates:

Initial Acupuncture visit $120

Get well sooner by booking your appointment today!