Acupuncture is an ancient form of medicine that originated in China a few thousand years ago. It is based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The purpose of acupuncture is to signal the brain to initiate healing to restore the body and mind’s equilibrium. Common uses of acupuncture include the prevention and treatment of various diseases and syndromes, injuries, and pain. This is achieved by stimulating significant points on the surface of the body with thin, disposable needles. This technique influences the body to heal naturally, improving the way it functions.
Acupuncture is uniquely suited to modern life because it directly affects the physical, emotional, and mental aspects of the human brain. When all of these systems are treated simultaneously, healing occurs from within.
The benefits of acupuncture have been widely acknowledged all over the world for promoting and maintaining good health. Over the past decade, Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture have become more prominent in mainstream healthcare as more of the population is seeking holistic methods of care. In conjunction with needling, Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners may also use techniques such as moxibustion, cupping, Tui Na massage, herbal medicine, or electro-acupuncture. Dietary or lifestyle changes may also be suggested.
The Traditional Chinese Medicine approach to acupuncture treatment is based on eight principles:
- Qi (sometimes spelled “chi”) – This is the energy that gives life to all living matter. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qi typically refers to the functions of the internal organs, as well as life force or vital energy.
- Yin and Yang – These two opposing forces make up the whole. Being healthy involves balancing Yin and Yang. Illness occurs when one of the two is either too strong or too weak.
- The Five Phases of Transformation (also known as the Five Elements) – The five elements are Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth. They are related to the various organs in the body and to one another in a complex manner.
- Channels – These are the pathways through which Qi flows. There are 14 main interconnected channels called “meridians”. Each meridian is named after the organ it is related to, e.g., the Heart channel.
- Points (also known as acupuncture points) – More than 400 locations on the skin connect to the 14 main meridians or channels. The stimulation of different acupuncture points can influence the activity of the corresponding meridian in a specific manner.
- Diagnosis – It is believed that the pathological changes of the internal organs are reflected on the body’s surface. That is why a diagnosis is made by observation of the skin, eyes, tongue, and pulse.
- Zang-Fu Theory – This explains the physiological function, pathological changes, and interrelationships of internal organs. The five Zang organs are the Lungs, Heart, Spleen, Liver, and Kidney. The six Fu organs are the Gall Bladder, Stomach, Large Intestine, Small Intestine, Urinary Bladder, and “Triple Warmer” (three areas of the body cavity).
- Chinese Syndrome – There are eight general principles that are used to differentiate among syndromes: – Yin and Yang – Exterior (Biao) and Interior (Li) – Xu (deficiency) and Shi (excess) – Cold and Heat
Acupuncture takes a holistic approach to health and regards illness as a sign that the body is out of balance. The exact pattern and degree of imbalance are unique to each individual. The skills of an acupuncturist lie in identifying the precise nature of the underlying disharmony and selecting the most effective treatment. The choice of acupuncture points will be specific to each patient’s needs. Acupuncture can also be used as a preventive measure to strengthen the constitution and promote general well-being.
An increasing amount of evidence from Western scientific research is demonstrating the effectiveness of acupuncture for treating a wide variety of conditions. From a biomedical viewpoint, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system by influencing the production of the body’s communication substances – hormones and neurotransmitters. The resulting biochemical changes activate the body’s self-regulating homeostatic systems to stimulate its natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being.
For more information, please book an appointment with one of our health professionals. Acupuncture is time-proven, effective, and safe!