Acupuncture is potent alternative healthcare. It is one of three branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine, with Herbal Medicine and Qi Gong (a form of mental and physical discipline) being the other two. The goal of each of these three is to balance and harmony to the flow of Qi in the body.
Traditional Acupuncture has a 2500 year history and utilizes a holistic approach to health maintenance and disease management. This is in contrast to the more recently developed medical acupuncture, which uses limited techniques based on Western medical diagnosis and treats only the symptoms of disease.
Traditional acupuncture is rooted in the premise that health is dependent on the body’s vital energy (known as “Qi” pronounced CHEE) flowing in a smooth and balanced manner throughout the meridians (channels) in the body, which connect all tissues and organs. When this energy flow becomes unbalanced, or blocked, symptoms begin to surface and the result is illness. The Acupuncturist restores balance to the patient’s Qi by inserting fine needles into specific points on the meridians, correcting any disharmonies by stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities. As a result, symptoms resolve and the patient often experiences renewed energy.
There are fourteen main meridians or channels along which Qi (energy) flows in the body. These are are spread throughout the entire body. Qi has been known throughout the centuries as the vital force. Its smooth flow is critical to sound health.
The Main Objectives of an Acupuncture Treatment
Acupuncture treatments are highly individualized and no two patients will be the same, nor have exactly the same treatments. This is unlike Western medicine where the same protocols and pharmaceuticals are use for a specific disease or symptom and not customized to the patient
The first objective in Chinese Medicine is to treat the root of disease by regulating the flow of Qi throughout the body. By treating the root, the body will then heal itself and the symptoms will subside. This is unlike Western medicine which treats the symptoms only, typically with procedures and pharmaceuticals.
The second objective is to relieve symptoms of the disease directly. In the case of an acute condition, for example severe pain, the treatment may focus initially on the symptoms, (in this case the pain) in order to provide relief to the patient.
The symptoms and the root can also be treated at the same time. The strategy used by the acupuncturist depends on the patient and his or her condition.
Another key objective of acupuncture is to strengthen the immune system.
Examples of conditions treated with acupuncture
Blood pressure regulation
Immune system toning
Common cold sinusitis
Neurogenic bladder dysfunction
Acupuncture from the Western point of view
Western science often limits Acupuncture to pain control and analgesia. Neurophysiological experiments have demonstrated that Acupuncture modifies the transmission of neural impulses between the spinal cord and the brain, forming the basis of what is known as the "gate control" theory. This theory claims that the action of the pain fibers in the spinal cord is blocked by Acupuncture. Acupuncture is also known to stimulate the release of endorphins produced by the body as a response to stress. The same process has been observed in exercise such as running or working out and is referred to as jogger's high.
Neurological theories may try to explain how Acupuncture interacts with pain, but they do not even begin to explain its diverse therapeutic effects. Acupuncture directly affects peripheral micro circulation, heart rhythm, blood pressure, levels of immunoglobulins, gastrointestinal peristalsis, secretion of hydrochloric acid and the production of red and white blood cells.
Acupuncture seems to adjust all the physiological processes of the organism, possibly through activation of the homeostatic function of the autonomic nervous system.