Those new to acupuncture are often pleasantly surprised that it is in fact relaxing! And of course seasoned acupuncture patients who come back for more understand just how relaxing it can be. Who knew being stuck with needles could feel so good??
But sometimes, especially when working on an internal disharmony without immediate direct effects, I get asked: "Is acupuncture just relaxing me?" It can be concerning to think that nothing is actually happening! But from research we know many definitive mechanisms of action through which acupuncture effects change in the body. These include effects on blood flow, muscle & fascia tension, inflammation, hormones, etc.
There are several reasons why you might not feel different right after treatment. For starters, acupuncture isn't a miracle. The big changes aren't going to happen overnight. Acupuncture has a compounding effect, which means that when performed over the right timeline the effect of each treatment builds upon the next.
That being said, I encourage my patients to embrace the relaxation component of acupuncture. We glorify our busy go-go-go culture, and most of us are running around wired on stress hormones! When our bodies are in such stressed states, we run in more of a survival mode. Resources aren't going to healing the injuries and internal imbalances that we want to work on, because our nervous system thinks that it's being threatened.
While we'll probably never avoid life's stressors completely, we can change how we perceive stress and learn to relax despite of it. Relaxing during your acupuncture treatments is an important first step in this process. This frees up the rest of your body's resources to allow us to do the rest of the work we need to do!
Looking for more strategies to make this first step to healing? Check out these 10 tips, or schedule an acupuncture appointment today!