Acupuncture is a powerful form of Eastern Medicine blending science and art together to form a kind of bioelectricity which is referred to as ‘chi’ in Chinese Medicine. During an Acupuncture session we may feel the rivers of energy, or bioelectricity, opening up and filling with ‘energy’ or Chi which leads to incredible experiences of peace, healing, and a meditative mind state. This form of medicine believes in looking at the root causes of disease and strengthening the whole body, from the core aspect of energetic healing, to the outer aspects of bodywork, herbal therapies, and Eastern Nutrition. Like three legs of a stool, these aspects of Acupuncture come together to create a synergy that propels the body to heal itself.
Acupuncture originated over 3,000-years ago. It is considered an age-old healing technique of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) thought to have been introduced around 100 B.C. Travelling back even further in time, there is evidence found in caves and ancient villages that our ancestors used tools shaped from bones to press on ‘acupressure’ points of the body and inspire healing.
“There is sufficient evidence of acupuncture’s value to expand its use into conventional medicine and to encourage further studies of its physiological and clinical value.” National Institutes of Health.[1} In 1997, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) documented and publicized acupuncture’s safety and efficacy for treating a wide range of conditions. Acupuncture is covered by many insurance policies worldwide.
Many hospitals in America, and especially in hubs of medicine sites like Boston, MA employ Acupuncturists to facilitate the healing process in their patients. In fact, NIH has studied the efficacy of Acupuncture for stroke victims. The findings have revealed that in many cases almost a total reversal of symptoms occur if a stroke patient receives Acupuncture three times a day immediately following admittance to the hospital. (Leah Savage, NIH,1995)
How does acupuncture work? How might Acupuncture help you?
Acupuncture improves the body’s functions and promotes the natural self-healing process by stimulating specific anatomic sites–commonly referred to as acupuncture points, or acupoints, along the energy meridians of the body. These are points of greater electrical conductivity…and enhance the vibration and energy flow on a molecular level. Other techniques an acupuncturist may use include: manual massage, light therapy, moxibustion or heat therapy, cupping, and the application of topical herbal medicines and ointments to name a few. These therapies are deeply restorative and relaxing. Easing our bodies of tension and creating hormones that make us feel good.
Acupuncture uses small, almost hair-thin, surgically sterilized, and disposable needles that are placed at certain points on the body. In TCM terms, it is the strategic use of these points that regulates and balances the flow of energy and blood in the body, thus allowing for symptom relief.
Laboratory and clinical studies have shown acupuncture to have an effect on the central and peripheral nervous systems. It causes the brain to release opioids, the body’s natural pain killers, as well as other endorphins that moderate the stress response and help to balance hormone levels in the body.
Do you have any medical issues that may benefit from Acupuncture?
There has also been effective studies on the endocrine and immune systems, cardiovascular system, and digestive system. By stimulating the body’s various systems, acupuncture can help to improve sleep, digestive function, and sense of well-being.
Acupuncture is generally painless…with perhaps a tiny pinch at certain points. It may seem a bit scary at first, as we generally associate needles with the larger more painful needles in shots, and surgery. Sharp pointy objects are not always fun!
However the Acupuncture needle is tiny, and generally inserted just below the skin at a superficial level…very quickly minimizing any discomfort. The needle is stimulated through a number of techniques..it can be spun, flicked, or moved up and down to manipulate the fascial tissue. Also energy can be increased or decreased at each acu-point. The needles are stimulated by the therapist to increase the tension around them, called “needle grasp”, which helps to alleviate the pressure around the area once the needle is removed. Generally, this “needle grasp” is met with tingling, numbness, or tingling at the site.
One theory behind Acupuncture and TCM is based on an ancient philosophy that describes the universe, and the body, in terms of two opposing forces: yin and yang. When these forces are in balance, the body is healthy. Energy, called “qi” (pronounced “chee”) flows along specific pathways, called meridians, throughout the body. This constant flow of energy keeps the yin and yang forces balanced. However, if the flow of energy gets blocked, like water getting stuck behind a dam, the disruption can lead to pain, lack of function, or illness. Acupuncture therapy can release blocked qi in the body by accessing the deep fascial layers of tissue, and stimulate function, evoking the body’s natural healing response through various physiological systems.
The efficacy of TCM is well documented and employed in many countries. Typically a practitioner studies for 4 or more years after completing undergraduate education to become proficient. It may seem mystical but is based on very real science which brings ancient techniques into modern day life. Acupuncture can help us avoid surgery at times, and reverse chronic illness. If you or a loved one are experiencing pain…give it a try! 🙂