Acupuncture for Autoimmune Disease
According to the American Autoimmune and Related Diseases Association, over 50 million Americans suffer from autoimmune disease, making it the third leading chronic illness in the United States, following heart disease and cancer.
There are more than 100 different types of autoimmune disease, some of the most common ones include:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Type 1 Diabetes
Autoimmune disease is characterized by the the body’s immune system attacking healthy cells, something that would not happen under normal conditions. In the case of autoimmune disease, the body mistakenly attacks the cells they are actually meant to protect. Inflammation is a major characteristic of autoimmune disease, as well as pain, though other symptoms may vary greatly, as there are many different types.
Common symptoms caused by an autoimmune response include:
Numbness & Tingling in the Hands & Feet
Shortness of Breath
Autoimmune disorders are extremely complex, and the cause is not completely understood. However, it is believed that autoimmune diseases may be triggered by factors such as viruses, toxins, bacteria, and some drugs in people who have a genetic predisposition.
The Good News: Acupuncture Can Help
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, autoimmune disorders occur when there is an imbalance in the body. This balance can be restored by acupuncture, which goes right to the root to restore health and wellbeing. Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin, hair-like needles in the body to restore balance and support the body’s natural healing abilities. In the case of autoimmune disease, research shows that acupuncture stimulates physical responses related to immune functioning, including the pituitary gland, nerve cells, hormones, and parts of the brain.
Acupuncture also impacts the parasympathetic nervous system response, which may help autoimmune disorders that are characterized by impaired parasympathetic abilities, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Lupus, and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Stress is another area acupuncture can help manage, which is good for people who suffer from autoimmune disease as stress often exaggerates symptoms.
Perhaps most notable in terms of day-to-day quality of life is acupuncture’s role in managing pain and inflammation. Acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins, which are known as the human body’s natural pain-killing hormones. As mentioned in our previous blog article on arthritic pain, roughly 85% of patients struggling with chronic pain have reported relief from acupuncture.
In summation, acupuncture may help you manage symptoms of autoimmune disease, including:
Muscle & Joint Pain
Mood & Stress
Parasympathetic Nervous System
Immune System Functioning