When I think of summer, I usually think of how the days seem to get so much longer and how we start to fill our schedules with more and more activities.

Making sure that your body is ready and willing to take part in all those activities is what makes or breaks how much you’ll enjoy the recent increase in the daylight hours.

Being able to move freely without pain is part of that. As an avid outdoors person, acupuncturist and health care provider, I definitely see how keeping the body healthy and moving really allows everyone to better enjoy the new found hours of the day.

Erika AndersonWhile many people have heard about the benefits of acupuncture or maybe even received acupuncture, I find it helpful to share its history as well as both my professional and personal experience of how I have seen it improve a person’s condition and their overall well-being.

From a historical standpoint, acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been around for more than 3,000 years. The medicine is backed by century old texts filled with case studies which are even tested by modern day research linking the efficacy of treatments.

Most of this stems from the fact that Chinese acupuncturists and herbalists were viewed as local practitioners occupying individual small towns where they were considered primary health care providers and therefore required to treat a wide array of illnesses, injuries and ailments. The World Health Organization even recognizes acupuncture as being helpful in treating over 30 conditions.

These include anything from physical acute and chronic pain, allergic rhinitis and digestive disorders to headaches, gynecological issues and even depression.

Acupuncture is definitely an effective way to deal with pain.

I had a 65-year-old woman come into the clinic with a shoulder that had been ‘frozen’ for over three years, a bad knee on the same side due to overuse paired with chronic digestive issues. After just two sessions, her shoulder pain had improved so much that she could both raise her arm past her shoulder and sleep on that arm without waking in pain.

After five treatments, her knee was strong and relaxed enough that she was able to take on her dream of hiking through part of the Machu Picchu ruins in Peru. She said that her overall digestion even calmed down and she no longer experienced as much gas and indigestion.

It’s true that she also was in overall great shape, ate a healthy diet and got plenty of rest, but getting acupuncture really supported her to heal and get active faster.

I found myself drawn to acupuncture and Chinese medicine when my own health changed for the worse. After running out of options from a Western medical approach, I decided to pursue an alternative approach using acupuncture and Chinese herbs.

After just two treatments, the inflammation decreased, my pain receded, and I was able to take part in my daily activities.

The tiny, hair-like thin needles are approximately 1/10th the size of hollow-born needles used to take blood samples or administer a vaccine. They are instead solid, stainless steel needles, nearly painless when inserted, are sterile just like hypodermic needles and are treated the same after a single use and placed in a biohazard sharps container to be destroyed.

Overall acupuncture can help with pain, swelling and inflammation. It increases circulation and mobility, calms the mind and decreases stress, regulate digestion and aid sleep and can even improve your overall mood and emotional state.

Anderson is a licensed acupuncturist practicing in Madras.

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