Acupuncture is a medical therapy that originated more than 3000 years ago in China. It is based on the Chinese philosophy that life energy (Chi [pronounced “chee”] in Chinese, or Ki [“key”] in Japanese) flows throughout the body in energy channels called meridians. You can think of the meridians as rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues. An obstruction in these energy rivers is like a dam that backs up, causing an imbalance in the body and leading to an unhealthy physical or mental state. When Ki flows properly through the meridians, the body is in a balanced healthy state.
When an obstruction in one of the meridians interferes with the flow of Ki, physical or mental illness results. Needling of the acupuncture points can unblock the obstructions at the dams and reestablish the balanced flow of energy through the meridians, allowing the body to return to a normal, healthy condition.
The scientific explanation for the success of acupuncture is that the insertion of needles stimulates the body to release chemicals that can change the individual’s perception of the pain or trigger the body to release other chemicals or hormones that help the body regulate and heal itself.
Acupuncture is one of many therapies an Oriental Medicine (OM) practitioner may use to help restore the body to health. An OM diagnosis involves understanding the patient’s individual pattern of disharmony and symptoms, determining which meridians are out of balance, and then deciding upon the appropriate therapies in order to return the body to harmony. How does acupuncture work? Click HERE to learn more.
In conventional medical practice, diseases or syndromes are identified through diagnosis that results in treatment through the use of drugs or surgery. Acupuncture takes a different approach. Your health status is assessed through the neurological reflexes and specific acupuncture points. When we have one or more weak neurological reflexes, “stressors” such as immune challenges, food allergies, heavy metals, toxic chemicals, or scars will impact your body’s organs and functional systems. The goal of acupuncture is to identify and prioritize the weak neurological reflexes that need to be addressed. It is similar to opening a combination lock, you must use the right numbers in the right sequence and in the right direction at the right time – and then the lock opens automatically. Once your neurological reflexes achieve a state of balance, your body will support its neurological reflexes on an ongoing basis.
Acupuncture is one of the most popular preventive medicines in Asia. In Japan and China, people see acupuncturists for regular health maintenance, to help prevent illness, and to stay mentally balanced and think clearly. People in Asia know that major illnesses do not show up suddenly one morning; incurable illness are an accumulation of years of the wrong diet, excess daily stress, too little exercise, too little water, daily smoking, daily drinking of alcohol, and so on. Knowing this, people in Asia go to acupuncturists and herbalists to achieve physical and mental balance so that they do not reach the point of no return.
Most of us are not so good the preventive part of our health. For example, flossing teeth to avoid dental problems, exercise on a regular basis to get fit, eating small portion sized meals and cutting down baked goods to avoid blood sugar problems, You could also drink green tea instead of drinking a cup of tall latte at Sturbucks or a cream-loaded cup of coffee at Dunkins to wake up your brain, wearing proper clothing and tick repellent to avoid get bit by ticks (and avoid getting lyme disease), boost your immunity by eating well and taking good care of yourself during the warm weather. Most of us get the flu vaccination and take antibiotics instead. I could go on and on.
We are all smart enough to know that we should not do that, but we do. Getting acupuncture treatment done on the regular basis will save your time, pain, frustration and money in the long run. Many of my patients come after seeing their PCP, a number of specialists, an ND, OD, DC, and getting a numbers of tests done including x-ray, MRIs, CAT scans and blood tests includes basic CBC, Metabolic panel, Lipid Panel, Hemoglobin A1c, Urine culcture, Vitamin D, B12,TSH, TPO, a food allergies panel, GI panel, neurotransmitter panel, etc… and most of them have already started taking a few drugs. I wish they were able to come to see me first. I might have able to help them to get better quicker.
Consider the well-balanced scales of justice associated with the zodiac sign Libra. This type of balance for your body and mind is the ultimate goal of acupuncture. You can bounce back easily if you are slightly off balance, but the further you go from the point of balance, the harder it is to bounce back. When it becomes too hard to bounce back, you have reached the point of no return: a terminal illness that even acupuncture or herbal medicine cannot cure. Though acupuncture and herbal medicine are not as widely-accepted in Western cultures, I believe that daily, weekly, or even monthly maintenance is the key to maintaining your physical and mental health. Think about the care you offer to a new car. It may run well with very little maintenance, but if you take it to a service station for regular oil changes and tune-ups. new cars run very well with very little maintenance, and people pay careful attention to providing that maintenance for their cars. After 80,000 miles or so, the car starts to require more maintenance to achieve the same performance.
Similarly, the human body needs preventative maintenance (i.e. a tune-up now and then), and more of it as we age. Children bounce back easily: they may have a high fever one evening but be ready to go out and play the next morning but adults take more time to recover from illnesses that they barely noticed when they were younger. I suggest that my patients who are between the ages of 45 and 55 start paying more careful attention to their bodies. Keep in mind that while you can have medical procedures to repair parts of your body that start to fail over time but you cannot replace your body in the same way that you can buy a new car when the old one stops running. Work to achieve balance in your hormone levels, structure, mental health, immune system, and all the systems of your body. The more balanced you are, the healthier you will feel!
- Acupuncture Actually WORKS, according to MGH (Massachusetts General Hospital) Research 3/2/17
- Rewiring the primary somatosensory cortex in carpal tunnel syndrome with acupuncture – Brain (A journal of Neurology) 3/2/17
- Useful health related blogs written by my classmate.
- Tongue Diagnosis – White Coating on the tongue
- Brain imaging (fMRI) and acupuncture – Functional MRI evidence that acupuncture modulates the limbic system and subcortical gray structures of the human brain
- Diabetes – Ancient Wisdom: Chinese extract may stop diabetes treatment
- The safety of Acupuncture – Acupuncture is safe in the hands of competent practitioners
- Benefit of cupping therapy (a short video) explains how this therapy works and its benefits.
- Acupuncture points and meridians
- AcupunctureTreatment.com provides detailed information about acupuncture treatments and how to treat medical issues with acupuncture.
- The NIH (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Web site includes detailed information about how acupuncture works.
- The book you must read before applying the acupuncture school. You will understand who you are from oriental medicine’s view point.
- The World of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine provides information about schools that teach Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and state laws that govern its practice.
- ChineseMedicineDoc.com explains how to use a combination of ancient and modern medicine to help heal contemporary diseases.
- The American Holistic Health Association promotes holistic principles and encourages people to participate actively in their own health and healthcare.
- Acupuncture Today provides the latest news about acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
- I am a member of The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM),