Did you know that one of acupuncture’s strengths is to prevent blood stagnation? When there is not enough “qi” energy to move the blood around the body, poor blood circulation can be one of the causes of numbness/tingling in our extremities, cramps, loss of colour in the hands or feet, and poor skin healing.
Acupuncture can improve circulation in the body: studies using ultrasound have shown that acupuncture points on the feet and legs can stimulate an increase in blood flow to the eyes, upper limbs, and abdominal organs. The reasons for this are numerous but can be explained by vasodilatation–which is an increase in the size of blood vessels that reduces resistance to blood flow throughout the body. This can occur not only in our arterial circulation (large vessels) but also on a microcirculatory level to the secondary blood pathways.
In Chinese Medicine, blood vessels are considered to be extraordinary “yang organs” because the vessels act as an enclosure through which blood passes. Blood vessels are primarily influenced by the heart, kidneys, and lungs. There are a few diagnoses that can be made when one experiences cold-related circulatory problems, including:
- cold hands: yang deficiency, blood deficiency, qi stagnation
- cold feet: kidney yang deficiency (women – liver blood deficiency)
- cold fingers and toes: liver qi stagnation
The way that acupuncture and related pain relief works is by acting on the circulatory system to perfuse tissues and begin a healing response. “No flow leads to pain, flow prevents pain” (“Bu tong ze tong, tong ze bu tong” – Huang Di Nei Jing). This quote, found in the ancient Chinese medical textbook, shows that for thousands of years there has been an obvious correlation between pain and circulation. In terms of cold stagnation, essentially: cold invades the blood vessels causing them to contract (vasoconstriction) and results in pain.
Using acupuncture to improve circulation reaches well beyond cold pathologies. In fact, it can help combat one of our most prevalent issues – stress related changes in blood flow. Stress causes the “fight or flight” over-activation of the sympathetic nervous system – which has significant negative effects on the blood supply to our internal organs and reproductive systems. Acupuncture has proven to help restore this blood supply to our vital organs. This alone can help with a myriad of issues that can be linked back to stress as the common denominator.
If you have any questions regarding symptoms you are experiencing, or wonder if acupuncture or TCM can help you, please book an appointment or a free 15 minute Meet and Greet with Dr. Cheryl Lee by calling our reception desk at 403 452 0029 or by booking online.