How acupuncture can relax your mind and body

We chatted with Dr. Louis Ziegler of the Advanced Health Center of Arlington about the long-lasting benefits of acupuncture for your well-being.

acupuncture needles going in skin
© Nanette Grebe /

With roots in medical history long before modern timekeeping was put in place, acupuncture has evolved from using sharp-edged tools to treat bodily abscesses, to balancing energy in the body with barely there thin needles.

The practice, although a physical way to pinpoint specific places in the body that may cause muscle tension, pain or other diseases, is also a meditative, relaxing process that has been acknowledged by the National Institutes of Health as an effective therapy on a wide array of health conditions since 1997. Here, we spoke with Dr. Louis Ziegler of the Advanced Health Center in Arlington about acupuncture’s benefits, what treatment looks like and how you can find your way to holistic wellness through the power of energy.

What is acupuncture and what is it used to treat?

When I start, I always try to explain that acupuncture is a natural therapy that is safe and medicine-free. The needles are extremely thin and they are put in very specific places in order to find energy in the body, which we can’t really see. But because we have an understanding of how energy moves, we are able to place the needles in specific places that release blockages of energy pathways, which, if left blocked, can lead to arthritis, asthma, anxiety and other issues. We can treat a lot of pain, as well as infertility, immune system support, heart issues, menopause and more.

If a reader is coming in for stress relief and muscle tension, what would their treatment look like?

Our sessions are very personalized, and we often have to start by dealing with a lot of fear of needles. When patients think of needles, they often think of large syringes, but these are very thin needles. At times, people will think we’re going to damage a nerve, poke a blood vessel or place a needle somewhere accidentally, but we are very specific. If you’re coming in for headaches, stress or muscle tension, we’ll place needles around your ear and into your spine or near your spine. Depending on the severity of the headaches, we will use specific points over a course of sessions, and maybe somewhere between 10 to 12 needles, depending on a patient’s comfort level.

Aside from the health conditions that acupuncture can treat, what should readers know about the practice helping them find peace?

At our practice, I want people to truly live a healthier kind of life by looking at the core of their problems, and understanding what’s within. People never really think about how they can build a better immune system or have better moods through this type of practice, but I want patients to really take that personally and know they can be healthier and feel better. It’s a challenge, but you have to take the initiative, and then I can give you the tools to feel better with an ancient practice that has been deeply rooted in cultures for thousands of years.

This post originally appeared in our May 2020 print issue, as part of the “40 Ways to Find Your Zen” story. For more health and wellness tips, subscribe to our Health newsletter. 

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