The quick answer to this question is “Yes, acupuncture can help.” And, when acupuncture is applied as part of the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) patient-centered, integrated approach, patients of the Intuitive Acupuncture clinic in San Luis Obispo experience relief from pain, and discomfort and report an improved quality of life.
Those who suffer from fibromyalgia have many painful and uncomfortable symptoms that include:
- Widespread chronic pain.
- Poor sleep and insomnia.
- Chronic fatigue.
- Hypersensitivity to touch, light, noise, food allergies, and more.
- Pain, cramps, and discomfort in the lower gastrointestinal tract.
- Some also report depression and cognitive issues, such as “brain fog.”
Acupuncture has proven to be an effective treatment for relieving pain, and helping patients relax, sleep better and attain better overall health. Combining acupuncture with other components of TCM such as herbal therapy, tuina/acupressure, cupping, and more enhances the patient’s sense of well-being. The integrated approach that is practiced at the San Luis Obispo acupuncture clinic helps those with fibromyalgia understand all of the options available to help them. The clinic also offers massage therapy, and Functional Medicine and Nutrition through private practitioners located at the clinic.
How does acupuncture help fibromyalgia?
The ancient explanation of acupuncture was that it enabled the flow of the life energy called qi throughout the body. Modern-day research is looking into the science that makes acupuncture such an effective treatment for fibromyalgia and a wide variety of other health conditions.
Intuitive Acupuncture recently released a summary of research into the science behind acupuncture. The report cites studies that have shown acupuncture is effective for stimulating the body to release naturally produced opioid neuropeptides and non-opioid neuropeptides that play a role in pain relief and a general sense of well-being.
We have cells throughout our bodies, from our brains to the bottoms of our feet. Some of these cells release natural biological chemicals known collectively as “neurotransmitters.” Some cells, known as “receptor cells” are programmed to receive neurotransmitters and process them so the body can use them. It’s actually more complex than this simple explanation because some cells both transmit and receive neurotransmitters and some cells are more specialized than others. Think of neurotransmitters as the brains of the body, telling us when to run, as in the flight/fight response, recognizing and relieving pain, telling us when we are hungry or full, and helping us experience tranquility and well-being. The millions of conversations our cells are having with one another may be the qi the ancient Chinese spoke of.
In the case of fibromyalgia, research trials suggest that acupuncture has some influence on levels of the neurotransmitter, serotonin, allowing the body to release and use more efficient levels. Serotonin plays an important role in processing the pain response, alertness, sleep, mood and digestion. Many fibromyalgia patients are low in serotonin.
Acupuncture is also believed to block Substance P, which is released in response to pain stimuli and is related to how one experiences pain. Many fibromyalgia patients had elevated levels of Substance P, which make them more reactive to pain.
When acupuncture stimulates cells to efficiently process neurotransmitters, important mechanisms are activated to respond in more healthy ways, including:
- The peripheral and central nervous systems.
- Spinal glial cells that influence pain centers and hypersensitivity in the spinal cord.
- The immune system’s inflammatory response.
- The cells that transmit natural opioids formed in the body.
- The central nervous system’s pain inhibition system.
What is the integrated approach?
An integrated, holistic approach respects that you are a single, integrated being and your needs are unique. Everyone responds differently to treatments. What works for one may not work for another and what isn’t working for you now, might be more effective at a different time. The Intuitive Acupuncture clinic in San Luis Obispo offers a range of highly-effective options that place your well-being at the center of your care and outcomes.
Your care becomes a partnership that is coordinated between you and your healthcare provider. The healing arts professionals and acupuncturists at San Luis Obispo’s Intuitive Acupuncture believe that patient-centered care is a core component of their integrative approach to healing and well-being.
Intuitive Acupuncture has been serving San Luis Obispo and the entire Central Coast since 2013. Education, skills, professional experience and life experiences led Jonathan to seek a career as a licensed acupuncturist and traditional Chinese medicine is the foundation for excellent care, well-being, and improved health for our patients.
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