What Is Acupuncture and How Does It Work?
Practiced for over 2,500 years in China, acupuncture is part of a holistic system of Traditional Chinese Medicine based on the philosophy that Qi (pronounced “chee”) or life energy, flows through the body. Qi helps to animate the body and protect it from pain and disease. When Qi flows freely throughout the body, one enjoys physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
An obstruction or imbalance of Qi within the body can be caused by many things such as physical and emotional trauma, stress, lack of exercise, overexertion and poor dietary patterns. Normally when imbalance occurs, the body naturally bounces back, returning to a balanced state of health. When the disruption to Qi is prolonged or excessive, or if the body is in a weakened state, then illness, pain or disease can set in.
Acupuncture works by stimulating the flow of Qi. Qi flows through a system of 12 major pathways or meridians. Each meridian is connected internally to a specific organ or gland. An acupuncturist will place fine, sterile needles at specific acupoints on the body to bring attention to the area, restore the free flow of energy and promote natural healing. It is a safe and effective way to treat a wide variety of problems.
One of the advantages of acupuncture is that the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of the many drugs or other accepted medical procedures used for the same conditions.
From a Western medical standpoint, there are many current theories on the mechanism of acupuncture. The 1997 National Institutes of Health (NIH) consensus concluded that studies demonstrate that acupuncture causes multiple biological responses, mediated mainly by sensory neurons, to many structures within the central nervous system. Acupuncture causes vasodilatation (increased blood flow), affects the activity of hormones and neurotransmitters, and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing patients to achieve very deep relaxation.