Acupuncture is one of the primary treatment methods used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, commonly used in conjunction with herbal medicine. According to classical Chinese medical theory, the body is made up of a very intricate system of thousands of primary and secondary channels, or meridians, which circulate energy in regular patterns through the deepest parts of the body, as well as over its surface.
Acupuncture works by accessing the body’s own energy at the acupuncture points, which are specific areas along the meridians where blood and energy have a tendency to gather. The use of fine needles or pressure at these sites can strengthen the body, remove obstructions in the channels, and reestablish a regular flow of energy through the meridians.
The scientific explanation of why acupuncture works is that needling the acupuncture points both increases circulation and stimulates the nervous system 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 that influence the body’s 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.
In the West, acupuncture is most commonly associated with the treatment of pain, allergies, addictions, and infertility. However, in the hands of a well-trained acupuncturist, it has much broader applications. Depending on the condition, acupuncture can be effective as the only treatment used, or it can be used in conjunction with other forms of medical treatment.
The World Health Organization recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of conditions, including:
Digestive disorders: gastritis and acid reflux, spastic colon, constipation, and diarrhea.
Respiratory disorders: sinusitis, sore throat, bronchitis, asthma, and recurrent chest infections.
Neurological and muscular disorders: headaches, facial tics, neck pain, rib neuritis, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, various forms of tendinitis, low back pain, sciatica, osteoarthritis.
Reproductive, menstrual, and urinary imbalances.
Emotional and Mental Imbalances: chronic stress, insomnia, anxiety, and depression.