Acupuncture can make you high, says an acupuncturist

Acupuncture offers a seemingly endless list of benefits, from pain management to better sleep to anti-aging. Tradition Chinese medicine appears to be able to do anything-including getting patients high. I’ll explain the last one now.

As a result of receiving acupuncture, some patients feel “acu-stoned,” where they feel incredibly relaxed. One might experience a body high after consuming cannabis, for instance.

The phrase “acu-stoned” is not an official term, but it simply describes how some people feel during or after acupuncture sessions, including floating, heavy limbs, and euphoria.

MTOM and L.Ac, Russell Brown describe the feeling as “sublime disorientation.” He says because acupuncture disrupts the mind, it cannot grasp time and space, so you emerge forgetting where you are and questioning whether 30 minutes have passed.

What is the sensation of “high” or “sublime disorientation” associated with acupuncture? When you get acupuncture, your body releases endorphins, according to Philadelphia acupuncturist Eva Zeller, LAc.

Zeller says that when you’re lying down during acupuncture, your endorphins are taking you to a different level. He also notes that “some pretty strong evidence” exists that acupuncture can have effects on the endocannabinoid system.

Various pressure points (if not all of them) may trigger this feeling, but Zeller claims it is the GB21 point, “the vulcan nerve pinch,” on the trapezius at the top of the shoulder, that can cause “a particularly robust release of endorphins.” According to Boston-based acupuncturist Marisa Fanelli, LAc, the points Heart 7, Pericardium 6, Kidney 1, and Spleen 6 trigger this feeling more consistently.

However, as Brown notes, ” There are no universal rules that apply to everyone.”. Acupuncture is so specific to the patient that the points that may be effective for you might not be effective for me.” That’s because, like getting stoned, the effects of acupuncture are different for everyone.

Acu-stones have a greater chance of being enjoyed by those patients who are devoted to the enjoyment of acupuncture. In Brown’s experience, these are the people who are seeking relaxation and relief from stress and anxiety; however, there are a lot of reasons why a patient may or may not feel like they are floating. Among these factors may be “the patient’s level of trust, [their] comfort and safety with the practitioner and the experience in general…the patient’s caffeine intake prior to treatment, and the time of the day.”

According to Zeller, acu-stone can take a few visits to kick in, probably because people are more alert during a new experience. However, some people get very stoned on their first visit.

Gregorie says that the positive effects [of acupuncture] can last for hours. Usually, she says, those “zoned out” feelings go away sooner rather than later.

Zeller recommends that patients sit in the waiting room afterwards until they are able to drive or walk home even if their acu-stoned high only lasts a few minutes. She recommends drinking a glass of water as well. Acupuncture can cause dizziness for some patients, according to Gregorie. In order to avoid injury, she recommends taking it slow when getting up.

Whatever your experience of acu-stone is, if you’re in good hands and you let it do its job, you’ll leave feeling better. The practice of acupuncture, according to Fanelli, “brings your body into a state of balance, which affects every system in your body.” That’s because it works by relaxing the body and relieving pain, improving sleep, and improving digestion.

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