Why Acupuncture and Moxibustion Are More and More Being Used for Postoperative Care

Did you know that acupuncture in Jacksonville can be of great benefit for pre- and post-surgical care? That is, if you are planning to undergo a surgical procedure in the near future.

Facing a surgical procedure can be an emotional and stressful event and usually brings up feelings of anxiety and fear. For a majority of people, it is being “put under” with anesthesia and the fear of the unknown. Other people curiously speculate about the process of rehabilitation and recovery as well as the impact the procedure might have on their lives.

Medical research has proven that acupuncture activates indirectly the CNS (Central Nervous System), which comprises the spinal cord, brain, and related nerves. A cascading effect of neurotransmitters in the brain is triggered when an acupuncture needle is inserted into the body. Endorphins, the body’s own natural painkillers are among these neurotransmitters. Several different MRI scans have revealed that with acupuncture, the chemistry of the brain can be altered in a way that is associated with sensation. The treatment also enhances involuntary functions such as the flow of fluids, lymph, and blood and improves the function of the endocrine system. The effect of acupuncture on circulation, interestingly, actually aids the body in delivering medications more efficiently and also facilitates the removal of toxins and past drugs from the body.

Perioperative acupuncture and techniques associated with it are now being sought out by more and more people and performed in conventional medical settings as a way to reduce postoperative pain and lessen the amount of pain medications, and for use as preoperative sedation.

Scar Treatment

A scar is usually left on the site of the operation after a surgical procedure. The scar tissue that replaces the wound is made up of fibrous, dense, connective tissue. This tissue does not have vascular support like other tissue nor is it elastic. Without the adequate circulation of blood or the elasticity, as other areas of the body, the scare tissue forms adhesions which over time, can affect underlying structures and organs and impair movement and flexibility. Moxibustion and acupuncture can restore circulation to the affected area and break up the scar tissue.

Preoperative Sedation

Because of the psychological and physiological effects of acupuncture on the body, it can significantly help decrease anxiety and preoperative stress by stimulating the release of endorphins that can boost the analgesic effect. The release of endorphins in the bloodstream can help patients experience drowsiness, calmness, and deep states of relaxation. The duration of recovery is shortened and there is less vomiting and nausea post-surgery when the need for strong opioids or anesthetics is reduced. However, one should remember that acupuncture is not considered nor is it a true anesthesia; it instead generates a sedation like and analgesic effect.

PONV and Postoperative Pain Control

Acupuncture and its associated modalities have proven effective for the control and management of pain, lessening the need and enhancing the effects of pain medication. As mentioned a while ago, one of the most studied and common uses of acupuncture are for the relief of PONV or postoperative nausea and vomiting. Recovery time can be delayed and complications from surgery might occur because of PONV. When opioids are given, oftentimes the patient’s bowel function can be affected making it difficult to pass stool. Acupuncture stabilizes the bowel’s peristaltic rhythm and brings back harmony to the bodily systems.

Postoperative Recovery

Acupuncture for postoperative recovery can help boost the immune system and restore balance in the body. After a surgical procedure, the gut and the immune system are severely drained of energy and strength leaving the body very prone to infection and other health problems. It has been proven that moxibustion and acupuncture speed up the healing process by strengthening the function of the immune system, boosting the flow of body fluids, lymph, and blood, and increasing the production of blood. Moxibustion and acupuncture can also bring back harmony to the gastrointestinal tract.