What is Acupuncture?
Originating in China about 5,000 years ago, Acupuncture is the oldest continuously practiced medical system in the world. The fundamental principles of acupuncture are to treat the person as an integrated whole in body, mind, and spirit, and to remedy the root cause of illness and disease, not only the symptoms.
The basic idea behind acupuncture, according to ancient theory, is that energy flows within the human body and can be stimulated to create balance and health. The energy flow (or vital force) called Qi and pronounced “chee” moves throughout the body along 12 main channels known as meridians. These meridians represent the major organs and functions of the body although they do not follow the exact pathways of nerves or blood flow.
The goal of acupuncture is to correct imbalances of flow and restore health through stimulation, generally by inserting very fine needles through the skin at points along the meridians of the body. Current acupuncture information lists up to 400 different acupuncture points for various health problems.
Acupuncture is one of the best known of the alternative therapies. The FDA estimates that people in the United States spend more than $500 million annually on acupuncture treatments.
How Acupuncture Works?
- There are numerous theories about how acupuncture works. Some of them are:
- Acupuncture stimulates the release of pain-relieving chemicals, such as endorphins and serotonin.
- Acupuncture targets painful tender points, sometimes called trigger points.
- Acupuncture influences the release of neurotransmitters, substances that transmit nerve impulses to the brain
- Acupuncture influences the autonomic nervous system
- Acupuncture stimulates circulation
- Acupuncture influences the electrical currents of the body
- Acupuncture stimulates the body’s pituitary gland to release cortisol, a hormone that is known to reduce inflammation.