Acupuncture: What Is It and How Does It Work?


What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the holistic practice of inserting very thin sterile needles through the skin at specific points on your body and is most often used to treat pain and discomfort due to a variety of conditions including:


  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Digestive Complaints
  • Menstrual Cramps
  • Infertility

    Acupuncture Meridians

    A traditional acupuncture meridians model

  • Menopausal Symptoms
  • Chemotherapy-induced and postoperative nausea and vomiting
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches, including tension headaches and migraines
  • Labor pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Respiratory disorders, such as allergic rhinitis
  • Tennis elbow


How Does It Work?

Working with your nervous system, the body’s control center, acupuncture causes muscles to relax. In turn this allows for better blood flow and nerve conduction which automatically begins to relieve pain. 


Acupuncture also tends to cause the release of feel-good hormones, called endorphins, within the brain. The release of these endorphins can have a positive effect on issues such as anxiety and depression. It can also have an overall balancing effect on more complex systems like the endocrine, digestive and reproductive systems.

Acupuncture Treatment in West Des Moines, IA

Does it hurt?

Acupuncture needles are sterile, disposable and as thin as human hair, making them much thinner than medical needles used for vaccines or blood draws. Inserted gently, they slide easily through the skin. Many people don’t feel anything. Once a needle reaches its depth, you may feel a mild tingling or a slight dull ache, indicating the treatment may be working. Your practitioner will ask you when you feel a deep heaviness or numbness. Those sensations usually mean the treatment is working.


For some people, acupuncture may be overwhelming to the nervous system and cause them to feel faint or light-headed. In these cases, the acupuncturist will use fewer needles or may decide to use acupressure instead. With acupressure, no needles are inserted into the body and pressure is used at appropriate points on the body. Acupressure may also be recommended for those with an extreme phobia of needles.


Ashworth Chiropractic, Physical Therapy, and Acupuncture practitioners are licensed and highly trained. Ready to give acupuncture a try? We are conveniently located in West Des Moines, Iowa and will take the time to create a personalized treatment plan for you. 


Brandi Van Meter, L.Ac.

Ashworth Chiropractic, Physical Therapy  and Acupuncture

5504 Ashworth Rd

West Des Moines, IA 50266