How Does Acupuncture Work?

How does acupuncture work? Image by The classical Traditional Chinese Medicine explanation for acupuncture is based on the premise that channels or rivers of vital energy run in regular patterns throughout the inside of the body and over its surface. These energy channels, called meridians, are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues. An obstruction in the movement of these energy channels is like a dam on a river: this obstruction of energy flow can either be the cause or the result of disease in the human body and also the human psyche, or mind.

The energy meridians in the body and mind can be influenced by needling the acupuncture points: acupuncture needles unblock the obstructed flow of energy and blood and reestablish normal flow through the meridians, thereby restoring health and balance. Vital energy or Chi is present in every part of the human being's body, including in the human mind and brain. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body to correct imbalances in all areas including neuro-muscular-skeletal conditions, internal medicine, and mental and emotional problems.

The modern scientific explanation for acupuncture is largely based on research that examines brain activity pre and post acupuncture treatment. This research shows that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous and endocrine systems to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones via the endocrine system which influence the body's own internal regulating system.

The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body's natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and emotional well-being.

Acupuncture has a successful clinical tradition in Asian culture of many thousands of years: not only does it work, but it works better than Western interventions such as surgery and pharmaceutical drugs in many cases.

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