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About Acupuncture

What is Acupuncture?

How does Acupuncture work?

Acupuncture and Modern Science

Summary 

 

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the gentle insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body. This process stimulates movement of energy within the body, allowing natural healing to take place.

Acupuncture helps to prevent illness by improving the overall functioning of the body's immune and organ systems. Acupuncture is helpful for:

  • Treating existing illnesses and injuries.
  • Preventing both recurrence of illnesses and new illnesses from developing.
  • Improving overall health.

Acupuncture originated in China over 3,000 years ago. Over time it spread to Japan, Korea and Vietnam and is part of the holistic system of healing known as Oriental Medicine.



How does Acupuncture work?

The classical explanation is that energy (Qi) flows in channels (meridians) throughout the body and over its surfaces. These channels are rivers of energy which are referred to as meridians. The Chinese have identified 71 meridians in the human body, which is a basic energy map for all people. The meridians are often compared to a series of interconnected highways. Each of the major organs in the body is associated with its own meridian. Through the network of meridians the internal organs are connected to certain areas and parts of the body including the muscles, bones, joints, and also other organs.

Acupuncture points are the specific points where the Qi is both concentrated and accessible. Acupuncture engages the Qi by inserting needles at these specific points, the goal being to restore the proper flow of Qi. As the body regains its natural balance, well-being returns.



Acupuncture and Modern Science

To the human body, acupuncture needles are a physical stimulus. In Western science, a stimulus is defined as a detectable change in either the external environment or within the body itself. When the body detects change, it produces a response. Although acupuncture is not yet fully understood by Western science, with modern technology scientists can now actually begin to "see" the body's response to acupuncture. For example, using an MRI (a very sophisticated x-ray), researchers have shown that when a needle is inserted at specific acupuncture points on the body, corresponding changes occur in the brain.

In the West, acupuncture is most well-known for its ability to relieve pain so the majority of research thus far has been done in this area. Acupuncture points are now believed to stimulate the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) to release pain-relieving chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord and brain. Regardless of how it works, muscle tension is lessened, joints are released, and pain is relieved. Acupuncture may also stimulate other chemicals to be released by the brain, including hormones that influence the self-regulating system of the body, as well as digestive and other organs.



Summary

For over 3,000 years, oriental medicine has provided us with a comprehensive and holistic approach to help prevent and treat disease. By supporting our natural ability to build and maintain health, oriental medicine is an incredible resource both on its own and in conjunction with western medicine and other modalities.