This is probably the most asked question I get from patients. Of course you can google this. But it's probably a good idea to know how the person who is doing acupuncture on you answers this question. I like to write my blogs from my own personal experience. This is just how I think of it, from 20 years of study and doing acupuncture on patients. Simply put, acupuncture works by manipulating the Qi of the body. What Qi is is another blog; but just think of Qi as the energy that gives movement and life to us, the energy that moves your limbs and makes your heart beat and your stomach digest. So acupuncture, through hundreds of access points or acupuncture points manipulates or changes this energy in some way. It is the Qi that keep us healthy, so acupuncture assists the Qi in keeping us healthy and out of pain. The acupuncturist knows how to use combinations of points to do this. The function of each of these hundreds of points has been studied for thousands of years. It's more complex than this, but this is a good start.
My Dad was a track star in high school and a running back on the football team. But after high school he never really worked out again. That's just the way things were back then. Most people didn't work out or do much in the way of sports after their school days. But luckily times have changed. More people seem to be staying more active nowadays into their 70s, 80, and even 90s. And studies like this one show that it is worth it. This blog and my last blog both reference studies that show that we should keep on being as active as possible for as long as possible. If you are not someone who moves a lot then find some activity you enjoy - from walking to tennis to yoga. And keep at it.
Now that we are into the cold and flu season, it's important to stay healthy. One of the things that drew me to Chinese medicine is it's emphasizes on prevention. One result of any acupuncture treatment is that it will immediately boost your immune system. This sounds like a bold claim, but it is just due to way acupuncture works. And coming in for a treatment that emphasizes the immune system is even better. Our long time patients tell us that they rarely if ever get sick any more and this is something that you can experience. It's a bit complicated to go into here, but acupuncture works by enhancing and moving the Qi, or the basic energy of our body. The Qi also makes up your immune system. And the strength and free-flow of Qi strengthens your immune system. Some of our patients (and us as well) will also take Chinese herbal supplements this time of year to further boost the immune system. We have our favorite formulas that we always have around just in case.
These are good findings because most of us can run some, maybe? The findings are encouraging and I think most of us know at some level that exercise is good for us. But evidence is mounting that it may be much better for us than we think and for various reasons. In this study, or really a meta-analysis of many studies (which is usually more accurate), they looked at the effects of running. But it seems that other studies always conclude that whatever exercise you do it is good for you. Walking, running, weight training, they all seem to be good. I think that really anything that we could reasonably call exercise probably has similar benefits. Maybe there is something special about running that is better than say yoga or gardening. Or maybe not. So do what ever exercise you enjoy, because it's better for you, most likely, than you even realize. The important thing is that you do it on a regular basis.
Monte Jackson, owner Acupuncture Center of Richmond