by Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac
Acupuncture is very beneficial when it comes to pre and post surgery. No matter what the surgery is, the body perceives this as trauma to the body. In turn, this trauma takes it’s toll on the body in the way of stress. This stress caused by the surgery weakens the immune system, disrupts the gastrointestinal tract and leaves the body more vulnerable to infection.
Scientific evidence has shown that acupuncture stimulates the central nervous system, which is our brain and spinal chord. Acupuncture points are strategic conductors of electromagnetic signals. When these points are stimulated, they release endorphins, our natural pain killers in the body. Acupuncture has been shown to change our brain chemistry related to sensation, involuntary body functions and in turn, strengthens our immune system. Acupuncture regulates blood pressure, blood flow and body temperature.
Before surgery, we sometimes manifest symptoms in the form of physical pain, fatigue, tingling or numbness or most certainly stress and anxiety. Just thinking about the procedure can make us a nervous wreak. Acupuncture is very helpful during this time, since it helps to relieve anxiety, decrease pain symptoms that maybe occurring and strengthening the immune function. This gives us the advantage, even during surgery since acupuncture can regulate blood and body fluids.
After surgery, our bodies perceive this invasive procedure, as an attack. Our immune system is weakened, the gastrointestinal tract is compromised and this leaves our bodies more vulnerable to infection. Acupuncture, post-surgery, can start as soon as possible. Acupuncture accelerates the healing process, increases the immune function, helps the body build more red blood cells and regulates blood, increase circulation of lymph and other body fluids, regulates the gastrointestinal tract and relieves pain. Scar tissue is another factor with surgery. Usually two weeks after surgery, scar therapy with acupuncture needles can be done to help reduce the size as well as prevent keloid healing.
Depending on the surgery, herbal medicine can be used to help speed up the recovery time and help reduce scarring, as well. Supplements that can boost the immune function and reduce infection include vitamins, minerals and amino acid.
Glutamine is one of the most abundant amino acids in our bodies, found in the gastrointestinal tract. This amino acid is compromised when there is surgery or the immune function is low. Studies have shown that Glutamine is one of the best amino acid supplements after surgery.
Vitamins A, C and the B vitamins increase the immune function and help with wound healing.
Minerals such as Selenium help to stimulate immune function and fight infection, while Zinc enhances the immune system and assists in wound healing.
So before and after you have surgery, consider having acupuncture and help your body to a speedy recovery!