How Does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture involves the insertion of hair-thin needles into the skin at precise points known as acupuncture points.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is based on the theory that an essential life energy, called Qi (chi), flows through the body along channels called meridians. Each meridian is connected to a specific internal organ. When the flow of Qi is blocked or out of balance, illness or pain results. The stimulation of acupuncture points along the meridians releases the blockage of Qi and promotes the smooth natural flow of energy, restoring balance and health to the body's systems.
According to Westernized medicine, it is proposed that acupuncture produces its effects through regulating the nervous system. Acupuncture stimulates the body to produce its own pain relieving chemicals called "endorphins". These chemicals mimic morphine by attaching to opiate receptor sites found throughout the nervous system. Endorphins help to block pain pathways that relay pain messages from the body to the brain, resulting in relief of pain, general relaxation and biochemical restoration of the body's own internal regulation systems.
Acupuncture has been shown to aid in the activity of immune system cells at specific sites in the body. In addition, studies have shown that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones and therefore affecting the parts of the central nervous system related to sensation and involuntary body functions, such as immune reactions and processess that regulate a person's blood pressure, blood flow and body temperature.
The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture stimulates the body's natural healing abilities, reducing inflammation, and promoting physical and emotional well-being