How Does Acupuncture Work?
Healthy Living Blog
by Rachelle Tetreault L,Ac
Acupuncture has been around for over 3,000 years in ancient China. There have even been some findings of possible acupuncture used prior to this in other civilizations on mummified bodies found with similar markings and needles made out of bone. Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of healing known to mankind and has stood the test of time. It has even been used to replace anesthesia and analgesics during major surgeries. It has both curative and preventative effects for both the body and mind. Traditional Chinese Medicine which encompasses both herbology and acupuncture focuses on holistic healing which fully allows the body to work as an integrated whole rather than separate entities.
Acupuncture uses the energy within the body which is known as our vital force. This energy circulates from one organ to another. This vital force follows pathways called meridians which allow our body to remain healthy and well balanced both mind and body. There are twelve major meridian pathways in the body itself. When one of these pathways is affected, there is disharmony resulting in symptoms and disease. The main function of these pathways and collaterals is to transport this vital energy and blood, connecting viscera with other organs. This healthy flow throughout these pathways ultimately connects the body into an organic whole unit.
Acupuncture helps to reset this natural balance by both regulating the immune system and restoring the body’s natural rhythm of this vital force. The ultimate goal in treating patients is to reestablish both harmony and balance within the mind and body so the body regulates itself naturally.
When this happens, the patient initially will notice an overall sense of well-being and symptoms eventually subside. The symptoms were just a signal alerting the patient there was an existing imbalance whether physical, mental, or spiritual. When all is in harmony, there is a natural flow of cycles within the body. This also correlates with the time of day corresponding to specific organs at specific times, our bio-rhythm, the seasons, and nature as a whole. All is in harmony.
In the classics, Huang di Neijing states that “the best doctors are those who can prevent the occurrence of disease”. Very well said, I do believe. Prevention should have priority over treatment and Traditional Chinese Medicine has shown its worth in both preventative and curative care. Acupuncture overall helps to ensure our healthy vital energy force is maintained which ensures optimal health. After all, disease occurs due to insufficient vital energy within us and there is an attack of pathogenic factors. Remember, we fight cancer daily, as well as viruses and bacteria. It is this vital energy that keeps our immune system strong and free of disharmony. Therefore, both protecting and cultivating this healthy energy force is vital for optimal health.
Though acupuncture helps with many disorders and diseases by helping to restore and regulate the immune system, it is most known for its pain management ability. The goal of acupuncture is to assist the patient to be brought to their full potential fully renewed and revitalized. For pain management, trigger or ashi points of concern can often include acupoints assisting temporal, splenius, and scalene muscles. Other major areas include many back issues such as quadratus lumborum originating at the iliac crest and iliolumbar ligament. Trapezius, levator muscle of scapula, rhomboid supraspinatus originating from scapula fossa often become points of interest when treating more sport injuries and chronic pain.
Acupuncture addresses pain and helps the body restore its own pain-killing endorphins and also reduces inflammatory cytokines in the body which may create more havoc. However, acupuncture also addresses both anxiety and depression allowing a patient to have a higher quality of life. Some long-term benefits of acupuncture include pain relief, improved sleep, improved mental health, and strengthening of musculoskeletal system therefore reducing likelihood of injuries.
Other amazing benefits from research reveal that acupuncture has been shown to improve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, improve overall digestion by better nutrient absorption. It has been shown to treat insomnia, anxiety, and treat both frequency and intensity of migraines. Acupuncture is also used to help chemotherapy patients tolerate their treatments by strengthening their overall constitution. It has been shown to help treat arthritis and reduce chronic pain without unwanted side effects. It also improves allergy relief by both strengthening and regulating the immune system and what is known as the spleen energy of the body.
The benefits of acupuncture are many. Good health both mentally and physically is truly priceless. Food therapy, proper self-care, and restorative exercises are also taught in my office to fully have a life where vital energy flow is not impeded but flows like a bubbling brook full of vitality and positive outlook. Call today to begin your journey to optimal health! 772-353-1397