Have you ever found yourself wondering about the answer to the question, “Acupuncture – how does it work?” If you have, you are not alone. Many people do not understand how this ancient Chinese therapy heals and restores the body to a state of harmony and balance.
It is believed that acupuncture predates recorded history by 2000 years or more. It is known that this ancient art of healing has its roots in the Taoist philosophy centering around the universal balance of energy that exists in all things in the universe. In recent years the age old Eastern practice of acupuncture has gained popularity in the Western world.
Acupuncture promotes the body’s ability to naturally heal itself. When a person is undergoing acupuncture therapy, needles are inserted into specific acupuncture points along the meridians of the body. Once the needles are inserted, the practitioner applies electrical stimulation or heat to the exact acupuncture points.
The answer to the question, “how does acupuncture work?” depends on whether you want the classical Chinese explanation for the Western scientific explanation.
In the classical Chinese belief system, the theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TMC, view the body as having two inseparable opposing forces known as yin and yang. The two opposing forces are the universal energy of life and are present in all things. Yin and yang are in a delicate balance with one another. One cannot survive without the other.
When the internal balance of the body’s yin and yang is disturbed, the imbalance manifests itself as an illness or disease. When this happens, blockages form along the meridians, or energy channels, of the body. The meridians connect the body’s major organs. When a blockage occurs, it causes the flow of chi, which is the universal life force, to become bogged down, slowed or stopped. Acupuncture opens the blocked meridians allowing the chi to flow freely throughout the body and restoring the delicate balance of yin and yang.
Viewing acupuncture from the Western scientific perspective, it works by regulating the body’s nervous system. Placing the needles under the skin’s surface stimulates the body’s sensory receptors. The nerves than send impulses to an area at the base of the brain signaling the hypothalamic-pituitary system. The hypothalamic-pituitary system begins the body’s natural pain killing process triggering the body and brain to release painkilling endorphins, neurohormones and neurotransmitters causing physiological changes to take place within the body. When this occurs, pain is reduced, the immune system becomes more resistant to illness and disease, circulation improves, muscles relax and pain tolerance increases.
Whether you prefer the classical Eastern explanation, the scientific Western explanation or a combination of them both, the answer to the question, “Acupuncture – how does it work?”depends on interpretation and beliefs. However, one thing is certain, whether acupuncture restores the balance of yin and yang freeing the flow of the vital chi within the body or it triggers the body’s natural pain killing biochemicals, many people attest to the fact that acupuncture is an effective, successful therapy treatment that promotes overall health and feelings of well being, prevents and improves many illnesses and controls pain.