Acupuncture is acknowledged as the oldest living form of medicine in the world, with written records going back over 3000 years. It is also a universally accepted complementary health system and has been accepted and promoted by WHO, the World Health Organization, for its ability to treat a host of illnesses and disorders, including arthritis, rhinitis, common cold, stress and pain.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Conference on Acupuncture in 1997 stated, “the data in support of acupuncture are as strong as those for many accepted Western medical therapies. One of the advantages of acupuncture is that the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs and other accepted procedures used for the same conditions.”
Acupuncture theory and practice are rooted in the premise that our vital energy, called Qi (pronounced Chee) circulates through pathways (meridians) in the body. When one or more meridians become blocked, Qi stagnates and we go out of balance, resulting in illness. One commonly used metaphor for how acupuncture functions is through a description what of happens when a beaver builds a dam on a river, blocking the flow of water. One side of it becomes swamp-like, while the other becomes parched and lifeless. Only by clearing the blockage will the waterway once more flow freely. Stagnation in the body can similarly impact on the fluids in our bodies, including blood, lymph, saliva and, yes, Qi as well. The goal of acupuncture is to restore the body’s natural internal movement and, thus, its vitality.
Treatment entails inserting ultra-thin, disposable needles into pre-mapped points along the body to restore circulation. By moving this energy the acupuncturist can balance its flow, thereby ‘rebooting’ the patient’s own recuperative powers. This can affect positive and often dramatic shifts in the patient, both physically and emotionally.
As a holistic practitioner, it is the job of the acupuncturist to view presenting illness in terms of what is going on with the person, as opposed to the methodology of Western medicine, which tends to focus on the symptom or illness. This Eastern approach views your health problems as occurring within the context of your life and therefore cannot be isolated or apart from who you are in the moment.
Can You Explain That in Scientific Terms?
Although Western science still has not fully explained how acupuncture works, it has almost come to accept it. In allopathic Medical terms, acupuncture increases oxygenation, enhances circulation and regulates the endocrine and nervous system. By stimulating the secretion of endorphins while blocking pain receptors, we can reduce, and often eliminate pain altogether. Another theory is that acupuncture ‘Qi’ is simply electromagnetic energy running through the body. When blocked due to dysfunction, it causes problems in the body, which can be relieved when pins are placed in strategic points.