What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a healing tradition that goes back thousands of years in Chinese history. The practice of acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into precise locations in the body to restore proper balance and function of the human body.
Acupuncture is a comprehensive system of health care and health maintenance. Since acupuncture promotes the body`s natural healing ability, most conditions can be corrected or improved. As a holistic medicine, acupuncture is not only used to correct physical imbalance patterns, but also to address mental and emotional issues.
What can acupuncture be used to treat?
Chinese medicine is a complete medical system that is used to diagnose and treat illness, prevent disease, and improve well-being. It is effective for many physical, psychological, and emotional problems.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes the ability of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine to treat the following common clinical disorders:
How does acupuncture work?
For several thousand years, acupuncturists have understood many relationships within the complex network of the human body. Energy, also known as Qi (pronounced “chee”) circulates throughout the body along well-defined pathways, or meridians. Points on the surface along these pathways are connected to specific organs, body structures, and systems. Locations of acupuncture points, along with the knowledge of their use in treating disease, have been recorded and passed down from generation to generation. If this energy circulation is disrupted, optimum function is affected, resulting in pain and illness. Acupuncture points are stimulated to balance the circulation of energy, which influences the health of the entire being. Since acupuncture relies on the body`s own physiology, the treatments produce no harmful side effects.
Although science does not completely understand how acupuncture works from a physiological perspective, there is a lot of evidence which explains how acupuncture could work. Recently, science has determined that human beings are complex bioelectric systems. Some of the first experiments to understand acupuncture physiology proved that acupuncture increases the levels of endorphins in the body, chemicals naturally produced by the brain to modulate how we feel pain. Acupuncture has also been shown to affect circulation, increasing blood flow to areas of local needling, but also to brain and body sites at locations distant to where needles are inserted. Yet another possible effective mechanism for acupuncture involves the role of fascia, the thin membranes which surround organs, muscles, and many other tissues. These membranes have an electrical property, by which a signal may travel. Scientists are learning new details about the human body by investigating how acupuncture might work.
Many clinical studies show that acupuncture is effective for certain symptoms or conditions. Without a complete understanding as to how acupuncture works scientifically does not prevent us from testing whether or not it works. Unfortunately, because every patient is treated differently, according to their individual condition and constitution, such tests are difficult to design. Fortunately, however, many of these tests have shown that acupuncture can be effective for a majority of patients with specific diseases.