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  • Writer's pictureEugene Lee Mahoney, LAc, AEAMP

Acupuncture for Chronic Inflammation & Autoimmunity

Typically, most patients come and see acupuncturists for conditions of pain that are either chronic or from recent injuries or accidents. Most people know that acupuncture is an excellent modality for the treatment of both types of pain and it is generally acknowledged by most doctors and other types of practitioners, such as Naturopaths, Chiropractors and Physical Therapists, to be an effective modality for those conditions.

For some patients it is also a gateway into treating other acute and chronic conditions they may be facing. Because, ultimately, patients feel better, pain free and begin to wonder if acupuncture could help with those other things they have been struggling with for years and for which no one has been able to effectively address. Things like irregular periods, digestive instability, anxiety, depression and allergies, have all been found to benefit from regular acupuncture treatments.

One class of conditions acupuncture can help which surprises many, including doctors, are chronic inflammatory conditions like those associated with autoimmunity (including Psoriasis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Chrohns and Colitis, the list goes on). It is known that autoimmune conditions have at least two phases; an active inflammatory stage where the symptoms are at their worst and then an inactive dormant stage, when the symptoms are mild if existent.

Acupuncture works with the body’s autonomic, parasympathetic and the body’s immune response regulatory systems to help alleviate the active phase while also modulating the inflammatory response to internal and external triggers. While we cannot claim acupuncture cures autoimmunity, what it can do is reduce the duration and intensity of the active phase and increase the interval of time between active disease. This is accomplished by regular, consistent acupuncture (one to two visits weekly until symptoms subside) while in one of those active inflammatory phases. Once the active phase is under control, care changes to regular acupuncture maintenance care visits (one acupuncture visit once or twice a month or even sometimes quarterly).

The result, typically for most patients, is that their symptoms are reduced in intensity while also having a reduced inflammatory phase and an increased interval between active disease. This all equates to a much improved quality of life. From the once avid gardener who was not able to do what they loved for the longest time because of arthritic pain and who now is able to get back into their beloved garden. Or the Crohn’s patient, who now feels comfortable getting back to travelling, their once great joy. Or even the Psoriasis patient, who feels confident going sleeveless in the summer. Regular acupuncture treatments can help them all gain ongoing relief.

As with all treatment modalities, results can and do vary, but countless many have found relief simply by taking the time to do the self care needed by making appointments with their acupuncturist. And by doing so, they see less inflammation, manageable symptoms and more importantly, the energy to do those things in their lives that give them joy.

As a side note there is tons of research that talks about the effectiveness of acupuncture for autoimmune conditions, so much so, there has been a switch as of late, in research focus towards finding out exactly which pathways acupuncture is utilizing to accomplish its results.

If you or someone you know suffers from symptoms as a result of an autoimmune condition, or suffers from an acute injury or chronic pain please consider making an acupuncture appointment today. Also, results improve when paired and under the care of a Naturopathic Doctor. To make your appointment with our caring doctors and acupuncturists, call 206.629.5180. Please don’t wait. Feel better now!206-629-5180

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