So you’ve been told acupuncture has no side effects. Well, you’ve been given misinformation! Allow me to set the record straight and fill you in on five side effects which are to be expected.
Acupuncture has profound effects on the nervous system, mostly helping to relax the sympathetic response. This is the part of the nervous system responsible for the “fight or flight” reaction. When your nervous system is revved up to stand your ground or run away, it is impossible to sleep. Many people report sleeping longer and more soundly for a day or two following their acupuncture treatments.
Sympathetic response = stress response. Whether you are trying to avoid becoming a meal for a pack of coyotes or escaping the wrath of your boss, your nervous system responds with a jolt of adrenaline which can send you into a quivery mess of racing heart and anxiety. Acupuncture anywhere reduces the effects of this sympathetic nervous system response, and some points are particularly strong. Those ear points which make you relax instantly and that point right between the eyes are used for a reason!
At your first appointment your acupuncturist may have asked you for enough detail about your poop to make a scatologist purr. It wasn’t just to embarrass you. How well you digest your food and the way your waste is deposited tells an acupuncturist volumes about your health, and many acupuncture points have a side effect of relieving digestive woes. A point commonly used to relieve muscle spasms is also in most prescriptions for constipation. One of the most common points for headache also aids the function of the large intestine. You get the point.
Whether you are plagued with headaches, arthritis, back pain, or just plain achiness, acupuncture has proven benefits of pain relief. That point used to calm the spirit and relieve stress has the side effect of relieving hand and arm pain. That point used to stimulate your ovaries to help you get pregnant also relieves abdominal and chest pain. That point used to boost your immune function and relieve your sore throat has a side effect of relieving back pain.
For many of us, fatigue is such a normal state of being that we don’t even identify it as a symptom. Until we have acupuncture. After a few treatments, many people wake up feeling more rested and find they no longer have that mid-afternoon slump. While acupuncture won’t turn back the clock and make a 70 year old 20 again, it does have the side effect of returning the spring to your step.
Next time you see your acupuncturist, pay attention not just to the stuff you came in for, but your overall state of health. Hopefully you are experiencing the side effects of your treatment!