a special feature from *Dr. Behnaz Forat, acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist

Grandparents are educated, trendy, possess innovation, and are pioneers for new ideas. Concerning health, today’s grandparents are seeking alternative therapies for relief of health ailments associated with growing older.

In 1996, four thousand years after China approved acupuncture, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the acupuncture needle as a medical device. Since then many illnesses are treated with acupuncture in the United States. A National Health Interview Survey reveals approximately 83 million adults spend more than $33 billion out-of-pocket on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). In 2007 38% of adults reported using CAM.

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine offer a safe and effective holistic approach. This natural avenue can both resolve symptoms and enhance health and well-being.  Pain relief, increased immunity, and improved blood flow are only a few of the astounding benefits from acupuncture. As a grandparent and in order to stay feeling vital, it can be truly beneficial for you to explore further into this modality.


Acupuncturists are now required to have rigorous training in both course work and hands-on work. Safety is an important concern since health care professionals must be aware of the transmission of disease or organ and tissue injury. Rest assured acupuncture is deemed safe when performed by trained professionals using clean needle approach.  Evidence also shows acupuncture is safe for children—this may be something you can do with your grandchildren, as long as you have their parents’ permission!

Pain Relief

Acupuncture is an astonishing way to alleviate aging-related discomfort like the pains associated with arthritis, chronic conditions, and general distress. The analgesic effect of acupuncture treatment is a result of increased endorphin, encephalin, serotonin, and dopamine levels in the brain during the treatment.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine completed a study with 17,922 participants investigating acupuncture for neck and back pain, osteoarthritis, chronic headaches, and shoulder pain. For all the pain types, the researchers discovered a significant difference between acupuncture versus the non-acupuncture individuals.  The study also reports acupuncture is not a placebo for chronic pain.

Immune System

We continually see and read that exposure to certain diseases, radiation, chemical exposure, and a lifetime of stress on your body cause deterioration of your immunity. As we age our immune system is slower to respond, thus increasing our chance of getting sick.  The body’s ability to identify and correct defects in the cells also diminishes, possibly resulting in cancer.

Acupuncture benefits and strengthens the immune system so we are better able to withstand colds, flu, minor infections, and even cancer.  The National Cancer Institute explains that acupuncture causes a physical cellular response in the nervous system and parts of the brain.  The response is a flood of hormones, proteins, and brain chemicals that control the body’s functions causing a boost in your immune system.

Blood Flow

As we get older, the lining of our blood vessels get harder and stiffer, especially on our fingers and toes.  This causes poor circulation in older people.  Through stimulation of the sympathetic responses, acupuncture can cause blood vessel dilatation, increased blood flow, and speed healing time.

Color Doppler imaging creates pictures of human blood vessels and in real-time it can calculate blood flow.  A study done on patients with open-angle glaucoma discovers acupuncture can led to a reduction of resistance in the arteries around the eyes—meaning acupuncture assists, along with conventional treatment, in restoring blood flow in patients with glaucoma.

If you have not tried this modality already, you may want to give it a whirl!

*Behnaz Forat Ph.D., L.Ac is a licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist since 1994. She is well known for her gentle acupuncture treatments, which are painless, but amazingly powerful. Prior to becoming an acupuncturist, Behnaz received her Doctorate degree in veterinary medicine from Tehran University in Iran. She also completed a PHD program in Holistic nutrition in 2011. She currently has a private practice in Beverly Hills, California.