The practice of acupuncture originates from ancient China over 2000 years ago and is used to treat a myriad of health conditions. During the second half of the twentieth century acupuncture began to spread rapidly in Western Europe, the United States and Canada.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles through the patient’s skin at specific points on the body and left in place for a period of time before removal. Acupuncture can be used effectively as the only treatment for a medical issue, or it can be used as an adjunct to other therapeutic interventions.
How does acupuncture work?
In Western medicine, acupuncture is explained by concepts of neuroscience. The insertion of needles at certain points in the body stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the brain, spinal cord and muscles. These chemicals act to reduce pain and inflammation, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which result in stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities to promote physical and emotional well-being.
According to Eastern or Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture unblocks “Qi” to balance the opposing forces of Yin and Yang. Qi is an energy or life force that flows through the body along 14 main pathways called meridians. When yin and yang are in harmony, qi flows freely within the body and a person is healthy. When a person is sick, diseased, or injured, qi is obstructed.
In addition to treating pain and various health problems, acupuncture often is used preventively as a kind of “tune up,” in the maintenance of health and well-being.