Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most commonly used systems of healing in the world. Originating in China some 3,500 years ago, only in the last three decades has it become popular in the United States. In 1993, the Food and Drug Administration estimated that Americans made up to 12 million visits per year to acupuncture practitioners and spent upwards of half a billion dollars on acupuncture treatments.
Traditional Chinese medicine hold that there are as many as 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body, which are connected by 20 pathways (12 main, 8 secondary) called meridians. These meridians conduct energy, or qi (pronounced “chi”), between the surface of the body and its internal organs. Each point has a different effect on the qi that passes through it. Qi is believed to help regulate balance in the body. It is influenced by the opposing forces of yin and yang, which represent positive and negative energy and forces in the universe and human body. Acupuncture is believed to keep the balance between yin and yang, thus allowing for the normal flow of qi throughout the body and restoring health to the mind and body.
How does acupuncture work?
Most people tend to push aside their true feelings in order to cope with their daily stressors. Acupuncture can lower stress and anxiety overall, so that daily life challenges can be better managed. Acupuncture also brings balance to the mind, body and spirit. When the emotions are as well taken care of as the body, true balanced is achieved.
Acupuncture for Pain and Inflammation
Acupuncture has long been known as a method of coping with physical pain. With an increase in blood circulation, a reduction in inflammation, the relaxation of the muscles, and a release of endorphins, it can assist your body in healing itself. The ancient Chinese believed that Qi, the universal life energy present in every living creature, circulates throughout the body along specific pathway meridians. As long as this energy flows freely throughout the meridians, health is maintained, but once the flow of energy is blocked, the system is disrupted and pain and illness occur. Acupuncture works to re-pattern and restore normal circulation and functionality by stimulating certain points on the meridians to free up the Qi energy. Another theory suggests that acupuncture stimulates the body to produce narcotic-like substances called endorphins, which reduce pain. Other studies have found that other pain-relieving substances called opiods may be released into the body during acupuncture treatment.