You can get high from acupuncture, says an acupuncturist

The list of acupuncture benefits seems endless, from pain control to better sleep to anti-aging. There seems to be nothing the practice of traditional Chinese medicine can’t do, and that includes drugging patients. Okay, well, let’s explain that last one.

There is a phenomenon called “acu-stoned”, in which some patients feel extremely relaxed as a result of acupuncture. The type of body high that one can feel after, for example, consuming cannabis.

While it’s not an official term, by any means, Denver acupuncturist Jane Gregorie, LAc, explains that “acu-stoned” is simply slang for “feelings of deep relaxation, floating, heavy limbs, euphoria, and space” that some people experience. during or after a session.

On the other hand, Los Angeles acupuncturist Russell Brown, L.Ac, MTOM, likes to refer to the sensation as “sublime disorientation.” He says that because acupuncture disconnects the mind, “it can’t orient itself in time and space, so you emerge forgetting where you are, perhaps thinking you’re in your room and insisting there’s no way it could have happened.” 30 minutes”.

So how, exactly, does the “high” or “sublime disorientation” that can accompany acupuncture feel? Philadelphia acupuncturist Eva Zeller, LAc, explains that when you receive acupuncture, your body releases endorphins.

“My theory is that you usually get endorphins after exercise or an injury… but during acupuncture you’re laying back and relaxed,” says Zeller, “so those endorphins can take you to a whole other level.” Zeller also notes that there is “some pretty strong evidence that acupuncture has effects on the endocannabinoid system, but not as strong as those caused by THC.”

While different (if not all) pressure points can trigger this particular vibration, Zeller says it’s likely that point GB21, “the ‘vulcan nerve pinch’ point on the trapezius at the top of the shoulder,” can lead to “a particularly strong endorphin release.” Boston-based acupuncturist Marisa Fanelli, LAc, also credits the Heart 7, Pericardium 6, Kidney 1, and Spleen 6 points as “seeming to trigger this feeling more consistently.”

Although, as Brown points out, “There are no universal rules that apply to everyone. It’s all so patient-specific, the points that may actually work for you may not be the ones that work for me.” That’s because, just like when you get high, the impacts of acupuncture affect everyone differently.

Fanelli says he finds that the patients who are most likely to experience acupuncture “are those who are committed to enjoying the acupuncture experience.” These are the patients who “want to relax and reduce their stress and anxiety,” she says; however, as Brown points out, there are several reasons why a patient may or may not feel like she is floating thanks to acupuncture. This can include, she explains, “the patient’s level of confidence, [their] comfort and safety with clinical and physician experience, the patient’s general level of anxiety around needles and bodywork… the patient’s caffeine intake prior to treatment, and the time of day.”

Sometimes it takes a few visits for a sense of acuity to kick in, probably because people are more alert during a new experience, Zeller says, adding that some people freak out a lot the first time.

“The positive effects [of acupuncture] it can last for hours,” says Gregorie. But those feelings of “isolation” usually fade a little sooner, he explains.

Still, even if their acu-stone vibrations only last a few minutes, Zeller recommends that patients sit in the waiting room after treatment until they feel grounded enough to drive or walk home. “Drinking a glass of water also helps,” she says. And Gregorie adds that this is because some patients may feel a little dizzy as a result of acupuncture. “So they should be careful when getting up and take it easy,” she recommends.

The best thing is, whether you get high or not, if you’re in trustworthy hands and letting him do what he does best, you’ll walk away feeling better. As Gregorie points out, “Most people will feel relaxed with acupuncture, if they’re not ‘holed up,’ and they’ll also get pain relief, better sleep, and improved digestion.” That’s because the practice of acupuncture, as Fanelli says, “brings your body into a state of balance, which affects every system in the body.”

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