Acupuncture is a collection of procedures involving penetration of the skin with needles in order to stimulate certain points on the body. The precise start date of acupuncture’s invention in ancient China and how it evolved from early times is uncertain. In its classical form it is a characteristic component of traditional Chinese medicine and one of the oldest healing practices in the world. Acupuncture’s use in certain health conditions has been endorsed by the United States National Institute of Health, the National Health Service of the United Kingdom, and the World Health Organization.
The Eastern Explanation for how Acupuncture works is that the life energy flowing through the body which is termed Qi (pronounced chee) can be influenced and balanced by stimulating specific points on the body. These points are located along channels of energy known as meridians that connect all of our major organs. According to Chinese medical theory, illness arises when the cyclical flow of Qi in the meridians becomes unbalanced or is blocked.
Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points located near or on the surface of the skin which have the ability to alter various biochemical and physiological conditions in order to achieve the desired effect.
Acupuncture points are areas of designated electrical sensitivity. Inserting needles at these points stimulates various sensory receptors that, in turn, stimulate nerves that transmit impulses to the hypothalamic-pituitary system at the base of the brain. The hypothalamus-pituitary glands are responsible for releasing neurotransmitters and endorphins, the body’s natural pain-killing hormones. It is estimated that endorphins are 200 times more potent than morphine. Endorphins also play a big role in the functioning of the hormonal system. This is why acupuncture works well for back pain and arthritis and also for premenstrual syndrome and infertility.
Some of the physiological effects observed throughout the body include increased circulation, decreased inflammation, relief from pain, relief of muscle spasms and increased T-cell count which stimulates the immune system.