What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and to improve functioning. This is done by inserting needles and applying heat or electrical stimulation at very precise acupuncture points.
Acupuncture is an effective form of health care that has evolved into a complete and holistic medical system. Practitioners of acupuncture and Chinese medicine have used this noninvasive medical system to diagnose and help millions of people get well and stay healthy.
An acupuncturist will place fine, sterile needles at specific acupoints on the body. This activates the body’s Qi and promotes natural healing by enhancing recuperative power, immunity and physical and emotional health. It also can improve overall function and well-being. It is a safe, painless and effective way to treat a wide variety of medical problems.
How Safe is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is extremely safe. It is an all-natural, drug-free therapy, yielding no side effects except feelings of relaxation and well-being. There is little danger of infection from acupuncture needles because they are sterile, used once, and then discarded.
While acupuncture is often associated with pain control, in the hands of a well-trained practitioner it has much broader applications. Acupuncture can be effective as the only treatment used, or as the support or adjunct to other medical treatment forms in many medical and surgical disorders. The World Health Organization recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of medical problems, including:
- Digestive disorders: gastritis and hyperacidity, spastic colon, Crohn’s Disease, IBS, constipation, diarrhea.
- Respiratory disorders: sinusitis, sore throat, bronchitis, asthma, recurrent chest infections.
- Neurological disorders: headaches, migraines, facial tics, Bell’s Palsy, neck pain, rib neuritis, sciatica.
- Muscular disorders: frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, various forms of tendonitis, low back pain, osteoarthritis.
- Reproductive problems: infertility, menstrual disorders, menopausal conditions.
- Acupuncture is particularly useful in resolving physical problems related to tension and stress and emotional conditions.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
The classical Chinese explanation is that channels of energy run through the body. These energy channels, called meridians, flow through the body to irrigate and nourish the body. An obstruction or blockage in the movement of these meridians causes ailment.
The meridians can be influenced by needling the acupuncture points; the acupuncture needles unblock the obstructions and reestablish the regular flow. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body’s internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption, and energy production activities, and in the circulation of their energy through the meridians.
The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body’s own internal regulating system.
The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and emotional well-being.