Acupuncture is the insertion of extremely fine sterilized stainless steel needles in specific points along acupuncture meridians. The needles are single-use and disposable; they are a fraction of the size of the more commonly known hypodermic needles that are hollow and used for injection or drawing blood. Acupuncture points reside along the 14 main meridians that flow throughout the body in an interconnecting matrix that distributes vital nutrients such as blood, fluids, hormones, and the motivating intrinsic force known as Qi (chee). These meridians cover length, width and depth, from the skin to the bones to each individual cell.
How Acupuncture Works
Qi flows through the body through 14 meridians connected to specific organs and glands. These pathways move like rivers through the countryside, transporting goods to communities living on the banks. Similarly, the meridians bring nourishment to each organ, muscle, gland and cell in the body.
An obstruction to the flow of Qi is like a dam in the river. When the Qi becomes backed up in one part of the body, the flow becomes restricted in other parts, cutting off vital nourishment to an area.
How is Qi disrupted? Physical and emotional trauma, lack of exercise, overexertion, seasonal changes, poor diet, accidents/injuries, and excessive activity are among the many things than can influence the quality, quantity, and balance of Qi.
Gathering information from a medical history and physical exam (including questions about diet and lifestyle) enables the practitioner to effectively diagnose and detect specific imbalances of Qi that may have contributed to a client’s health problems. During acupuncture treatment, fine, sterile needles are placed at specific acupoints along the meridians. The needles unblock obstruction to balance Qi and allow it to circulate throughout the body and provide adequate nourishment. This process can eliminate pain and restore balance and harmony, and fortify the body’s ability to heal itself.
How The Body Receives Acupuncture
The effects of acupuncture are delivered by neurological, biochemical and bioelectrical mechanisms. In 1989, Deke Kendall organized mountains of research to describe in detail the neurological and biochemical mechanisms of Acupuncture. More can be learned through his book the “Dao of Chinese Medicine.”
Neurological: The A-delta and C fibers carry signals into the spinal cord and the brain. These fibers connect internal organs to the brain through the dorsal horns of the spinal cord.
Biochemical: Many bioactive substances including bradykinin, histamine, and leukotrine are important for initiating responses at acupuncture points. Serotonin, enkephalin, and endorphins mediate further activity in the central nervous system and the body.
Bioelectrical: Electric energy, naturally occurring in the body, has been found to stimulate regeneration and healing. The limbs of frogs and rats were regenerated and resistant bone fractures were healed in humans by electric treatments. It was also observed that ions of radioactive isotopes injected into acupuncture points (for tracking purposes) migrate along meridians mapped by the ancients.
Acupuncture is a deceptively simple therapy. Centuries of use in the East attest to its safety and effectiveness in utilizing the body’s innate healing systems. In this era of high-tech medicine, acupuncture would have been one of the greatest discoveries – if it hadn’t already been developed centuries ago.