Have you ever heard that phrase: “Bacon makes everything better?”
Recently it occurred to me that few people know that acupuncture makes recovery from surgeries better. It makes recovery from all surgeries better.
Having been an ICU and surgical scrub nurse, as well as an acupuncturist, I’ve taken care of a lot people following a lot of complicated surgical procedures including:
- New pipes on the heart (coronary artery bypass grafting),
- New valves for the heart (aortic valve replacement, mitral valve replacement),
- Patching blood vessel leaks and bulges (aneurysm repair),
- Knee/hip/shoulder replacements,
- Cosmetic procedures such as facelifts and various physical additions and subtractions, shall we say.
In all these instances, acupuncture improves after surgery healing. From a purely physical perspective, we know that acupuncture:
- Improves circulation: Better circulation means more nutrients for the body to use to mend.
- Reduces swelling: Less swelling allows for better blood flow to recovering tissues.
- Releases naturally occurring, chill-you-out substances, like endorphins: Endorphin release contributes to a sense of well being and positive outlook.
- Reduces the stress hormone, cortisol: Fewer stress hormones keep you in a more relaxed space.
- Is recognized for reducing stress and anxiety.
When there is better blood flow, there is less pain, which means you can wean from narcotic pain medications sooner too. Pain control is a must following big surgeries. However, tolerance of pain medications varies widely and, in some patients, it causes severe vomiting, constipation, drowsiness, or agitation. No one needs that after surgery. You also may not realize that acupuncture in the post-operative period is typically NOT applied directly to any surgical incision. Instead, acu-points, which “distal” are above or below surgical sites, are chosen.
There is a huge amount of stress when facing a surgery, even when you know you need it and even when you know it is a successful medical method, routinely done all over the world every day. Acupuncture helps your body heal and helps your mind manage stress and anxiety. So remember: if you like bacon, it may make your breakfast, lunch or dinner better. However, acupuncture makes recovering from all surgeries better.