What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body. This process stimulates the body to heal itself in ways that science cannot yet explain. However, the selection of points that are used has developed over more than 2,000 years of continual practice in the East. Licensed acupuncturists receive years of training in the history, techniques, and practice of acupuncture.
Acupuncture helps to prevent illness by improving the overall functioning of the body’s immune, nervous, and organ systems. Acupuncture is helpful for
- Treating injuries and managing pain
- Relaxing the nervous system and establishing calm
- Improving overall health
How Does Acupuncture Work?
In short, acupuncture stimulates your body to heal itself. The longer version can be broken up into the traditional/historical explanation or the modern, scientific explanation.
The historical Chinese explanation revolves around the concept of a vital force they called “Qi.” After many years of study, Chinese doctors concluded that this vital force moved around the body by way of channels, often popularly referred to as meridians. These channels were believed to run throughout the body and are often compared to a series of interconnected highways or rivers. This network of channels connects the internal organs to the rest of the body (muscles, bones, joints, etc.). According to the earliest traditions, when the Qi cannot flow smoothly or is forced to flow in the opposite direction, the body’s innate equilibrium is disrupted and illness results. Acupuncture therapy is the process of inserting needles into specific points along the channels to restore the proper flow of Qi. As the body regains its natural balance, well-being returns.
Acupuncture and Modern Science
The traditional explanation above is often baffling to the western mind. It sounds foreign to our scientific way of thinking and more like mysticism or poetry than medicine. But much modern research has been conducted in order to understand how acupuncture works. Since acupuncture is most well-known for its ability to relieve pain, the majority of research 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. Other substances may be released that help the body self regulate. There is increasing evidence that acupuncture stimulates another system in the body that has yet to be well defined. Some think this undiscovered system is a type of wireless electrical system in the body.Want More Science?