The research says it all: tiny needles can have big results.
We know the power of acupuncture – and the power of collaboration! Acupuncture often works well with functional medicine programs, which is why we sometimes recommend seeing an acupuncturist in conjunction as part of your functional medicine treatment plan.
At Seattle Functional Health, we often team up with Seattle’s best acupuncturist to offer our patients a well-rounded route to better health.
If you are in need of immediate acupuncture care, we proudly recommend our friend Sarah Taylor of Sol Acupuncture.
Let’s dive in to learn more about this ancient therapy and how it can improve your results with functional medicine.
Why Pair Acupuncture with Functional Medicine?
Old and new. East and West. Complementary and comprehensive. Acupuncture and functional medicine have similar approaches and goals, but much different tools. This makes acupuncture and functional medicine a successful healing team for many patients.
Much like functional medicine, acupuncture also works to address the root of the issue, not just the symptoms. Acupuncture also shares the holistic and comprehensive approach with functional medicine. While the tool of choice for an acupuncturist is, of course, the hair-thin acupuncture needle, acupuncture is actually only one aspect of the holistic healing tradition of Chinese medicine. Acupuncturists also offer treatments like massage, cupping, gua sha, herbal medicine, dietary therapy, and exercise therapy to help people overcome their health challenges.
Here are a few of the key reasons we may recommend supplementing your functional medicine treatment plan with acupuncture:
- Acupuncture and Functional Medicine work together to seek out the root issue. Functional medicine is a powerful system because it skips the band-aid treatments and goes right to the root of the problem. With functional medicine, we can pinpoint the missing links and create a plan to restore health and wellbeing. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine take the same approach, but with different perspectives and tools. This focus on the root issue allows both systems to offer patients a dedicated, long-term solution to their health issues.
- Acupuncture offers a “short-cut” to stress relief to help improve our functional medicine results. At Seattle Functional Health, many of our patients struggle with managing the stress of daily life. We learn habits and techniques to overcome stress, sometimes we need a little extra help to get the ball rolling. This is where acupuncture comes in. Acupuncture’s effect on the nervous system allows for immediate and ongoing stress relief. This helps us make quicker progress with our functional medicine treatment plan and establish better stress management habits from the start.
- Acupuncture helps Functional Medicine get to the bottom of complex or unresolved health issues. Functional medicine doctors are known for being health “detectives,” using sophisticated tests, diagnostics, observations, and other holistic methods to get to the bottom of tricky issues. Acupuncturists are also considered “detectives” in the field and are sought out as a last-ditch effort in many cases. These complex issues have research-backed support that suggests acupuncture may be a helpful complementary solution:
- Stubborn pain conditions (back pain, neck pain, knee pain)
- Allergies or sensitivities
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Mood imbalances, anxiety, depression
- Chronic stress and burnout
- Reproductive health issues like infertility
- Gastrointestinal issues (constipation, IBS, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis)
- Unresolved, stubborn, or undiagnosed conditions
- Health concerns with seemingly unrelated symptoms
Added Benefits: How Acupuncture Can Boost Your Functional Medicine Treatment
From pain relief to relaxation, digestive support to cancer care, research shows that acupuncture has substantial potential for many of our common health concerns. When paired with functional medicine, acupuncture may have these added health benefits:
- Reduced pain and tension. Acupuncture is most well-known for relieving s wide range of chronic and acute musculoskeletal pain and relaxing muscular tension. Studies show that it does this both by directing nourishing blood flow to the area of pain (such as the low back, neck, or joints) as well as releasing natural pain-killing endorphins. Acupuncture also helps to manage internal pain conditions like migraines, abdominal pain, or menstrual cramping.
- Less stress and better mental health.Acupuncture is also known to relieve stress, tension, and mental overwhelm, as well as improving more serious conditions like depression and anxiety. In addition to taking the edge off, acupuncture helps to fight the damaging effects of stress like high cortisol levels, inflammation, and high blood pressure. With regular treatment, it helps the mind and body grow more resilient towards future stressors.
- Improved sleep and more energy. Most of us wish we had a little extra energy during the day. To make matters worse, many of us also struggle to get the sleep we need to feel truly energized. Thankfully, acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been shown to help boost our natural energy and encourage a healthier sleep pattern.
- Stronger immunity.These days, a strong immune system is a high priority for many of us. Studies show that acupuncture supports the body’s innate immune system, reduces inflammation, and improves the overall immune response.
- More regularity. There are some aspects of our health where consistency and regularity are essential. From better digestion and regular bowel movements to regulating the menstrual cycle, acupuncture can help the body return to its optimal rhythms of life.
Misconceptions About Acupuncture
While acupuncture has been used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years, it is still a relatively new practice to those in the West. As such, there have been many misconceptions about this time-tested medicine. Let’s bust a few of the myths surrounding acupuncture:
- Acupuncture is painful. It’s hard to see how a therapy that uses needles couldn’t be painful, but acupuncture is generally a relaxing, pain-free experience. The needles are so tiny that they simply slide just below the skin without the stabbing or sharp pain of the much larger hypodermic needle. Once in place, most people only feel a slight warmth, a dullness, or even nothing at all.
- You have to “believe” in acupuncture for it to work. Research has shown that acupuncture can work no matter the patient’s beliefs about the practice. During an acupuncture treatment, the body’s nerves, tissues, and energy respond to the stimulation of strategically placed needles and the healing process begins. Additionally, MRI studies and animal studies also show that acupuncture’s effects are not only psychological but physiological as well.
- Acupuncture conflicts with mainstream medicine. Acupuncture is a complementary medicine, meaning that it can be used in conjunction with and alongside a range of other healing models. In many cases, acupuncture can help other therapies work better or relieve the side effects of conventional medicine.
Restore Balance with a Functional Medicine Program
At Seattle Functional Health, offering balanced, supportive, and comprehensive care is our biggest goal. Are you ready to get started with a functional medicine program tailored to you? Take the first step to better health and schedule your consultation with Seattle Functional Health!