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How does Acupuncture work?

First and foremost, Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine have existed and have been used to treat ailments and disease by doctors and practitioners in the Orient for thousands of years.  Even today in China, hospitals use both western medicine and oriental medicine to treat patients.

There are many theories in Western medical literature  that tried to explain how acupuncture works – some of them are:

  • It stimulates the release of endorphins, (which occurs in pain relief),
  • It influences the release of neurotransmitters which send nerve impulses to the brain,
  • It influences the autonomic nervous system,
  • It stimulates blood and body fluid circulation,
  • It influences electrical currents of the body.

According to Oriental Medicine, The body is all connected through a complex system of pathways called meridians (14 main ones with numerous branches).  Impulses travel in these channels from the organs and cells to the brain and visa versa.  These pathways are independent of the nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems but the meridians interface with all of these pathways as well as all the organs.  Not only does the body function at a physical level but there is a component linked with emotions, mind and spirit.  This is easily seen when someone is over stressed and pain or illness symptoms pop up or get worse.  Oriental Medicine addresses the entire physical body, mind and spirit in the treatment of disease, emotional imbalance or pain.  Needles tap into the Qi.  According to Traditional Chinese Medicine doctrines, Qi is the vital energy that flows in meridians and throughout the entire body.  By activating the Qi, a stimulus is sent out which elicits the body to heal or re-balance itself.  It is a gentle and natural process without the use of invasive procedures or drugs. The length of time it takes the body to heal and respond is a factor of how long or how progressed the condition is, plus the current state of health that body is in. Conditions that have occurred more recently usually respond faster to acupuncture and herbs than conditions that have existed for many years.  For chronic problems it may take up to 10 to 12 treatments and then maintenance visits monthly or every few months, depending on the condition being treated.  There may not be a “cure” for certain diseases but Oriental Medicine can diminish the intensity of symptoms,  slow the progression of a disease and strengthen the body from within.  Increasing the quality of one’s life is the main goal.