Acupuncture works by aiding the body in getting more from its own natural healing resources. A problem occurs when there is stagnation in the body. This causes a disruption that can lead to pain, illness, or lack of function.
Stimulating acupuncture points release this stagnation and aids in bringing more of the body’s natural healing ability online. This healing response comes from various physiological systems including hormones, immune system boosters, anti-inflammatories, and pain reducers. These healing systems, activated with acupuncture help us get closer to our bodies’ full potential.
A Strict Definition of Acupuncture
Concretely, acupuncture is the gentle insertion of hair-thin sterile needles into the body at specific points in order to initiate healing and promote health.
Acupuncture from a Bio-Medical Perspective
Acupuncture points are important centers containing many mast cells, nerves, capillaries, and lymphatics. Needling these points triggers the endocrine system, which then releases endorphins and neurotransmitters. These aid the body by providing pain relief, reducing inflammation, increased blood blow (which improves oxygenation & nutrient availability), improved immune function, and hormone regulation. Thus, by stimulating the body’s natural ability to heal itself, acupuncture is very effective for treating a wide array of health problems.
Based on these bio-medical actions we know that acupuncture can help:
- Resolve pain
- Improve sleep
- Return proper digestive function
- Reduce stress
- Balance hormones
Chinese Medicine on Acupuncture
From the perspective of Chinese Medicine, acupuncture works by stimulating points on the body that influence the flow of Qi. Qi (roughly translated as matter-energy) flows through the body along meridians, nourishing and enabling the body to function in a smooth and balanced manner. A blockage to the flow of Qi can lead to pain or improper body functioning. Acupuncture helps to release blockages of Qi in the body and restores the balance and function of the body.
A Little History
Although there is some evidence that acupuncture points were used and studied in other places, such as India, Egypt and South America, our documented knowledge of acupuncture comes from China. Written records of the use of acupuncture go back around 2,500 years, with archaeological evidence showing its origins being over 5,000 years old. This makes acupuncture the oldest commonly used medical system in the world.