Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years throughout many parts of the world. But despite its long track record as a successful treatment for a host of illnesses, many people in the west continue to misunderstand its effectiveness and so it is relegated to the sidelines of medicine.

 

Acupuncture is an ancient healing art and works very well for a number of concerns. Given its 2,500-year history and myriad uses, acupuncture is a fascinating topic, worthy of in-depth exploration.

Here’s the how and why: 

How does Acupuncture work?

Acupuncture works by stimulating specific points on or near the surface of the skin, called acupuncture points. These points have high concentrations of nerve endings, mast cells, lymphatics and capillaries, all capable of triggering biochemical and physiological changes in the body, from the subtle to the dramatic. Then a needle is inserted into an acupuncture point, it stimulates the sensory receptor and sets off a chain reaction — the sensory receptor stimulates the nerve, which in turn transmits impulses to the brain. This complex system of interactions is responsible for regulating a number of bodily processes.One important process is the release of neurotransmitters and endorphins, the body’s natural pain-killing hormones (thought to be some 200 times more potent than morphine!). Endorphins play a significant role in the hormonal system, which is why acupuncture is effective in treating back pain, arthritis, PMS and even infertility. Acupuncture also works to release substances that relax the body and regulate serotonin, which affects emotions. Other physiological effects include increased circulation, decreased inflammation, easing of muscle spasms and increased T-cell count, which supports the immune system.
 

What is Qi and how does it work?

Qi (pronounced “chee”) is foundational in acupuncture, and there’s a lot of misconception about how it works. “Qi” is a Chinese word that roughly translates to “energy.” In modern and traditional Chinese medicine, qi is used mainly as a metaphor for metabolic function. For example, “heart qi” would refer to functions of the heart and cardiovascular system, and “ancestral qi” refers to genetics. Most modern practitioners are well-versed in the Latin science and disease terminology of Western medicine, and will often use both terms.

Do Acupuncturists have special training?

Naturopathic doctors that practice acupuncture undergo extensive, rigorous training that incorporates both Eastern and Western medicine.Acupuncture is a respected field of medicine, and most states, provinces and countries require formal training and certification.

Who can benefit from Acupuncture?

Regardless of your health history, most people see benefits from acupuncture. If you have an ailment, acupuncture can help relieve it. If you feel well, acupuncture can help you maintain wellness, boost immunity and manage stress. Patients very often see greater improvement in their condition when treated by both an MD and a ND/acupuncturist.

Is Acupuncture considered a form of therapy?

Acupuncture is a form of therapy and should be seen as such. As with any therapy, such as physical therapy or psychotherapy, there is always a treatment plan. The practitioner works with the patient to decide on a plan that best fits his or her needs. This may involve just a few sessions for simpler issues or long-term management for chronic conditions.