What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture needles on the back of a beautiful womanThe theory and practice of acupuncture is based on Asian medicine (also known as traditional Chinese or East Asian or Oriental medicine). This is a comprehensive natural health care system that has been used in Asian countries for thousands of years to preserve health and to diagnose, treat, and prevent illness.

Acupuncture treats health conditions by stimulating acupuncture points found at specific locations on the surface of the body to produce physiological effects. Acupuncturists stimulate these points in a number of ways. The most common are:

1. by inserting very thin, sterile needles through the skin
2. by applying heat to the acupuncture points
3. by applying finger pressure and massage techniques

The general theory of acupuncture is that proper physiological function and health depend on the circulation of an energy called Qi (pronounced “chee”) through a network of “channels” or “meridians.” This network connects every organ and part of the body, providing balance, regulation, and coordination of physiological processes, influences the movement of blood and body fluids and is reflected in nervous system function.

Pain and ill health result when the flow of Qi through the body is disrupted or blocked. This can be caused by many things, including disease, hereditary influences, pathogens, trauma/injuries, medications, toxicity, afflictive emotions, stress, overwork, poor diet, lack of rest, etc.

Stimulation of the appropriate acupuncture points through acupuncture treatments helps to restore sufficient, continuous, and even flow of Qi and other nutrients throughout the body, restoring health and balance to the body while relieving pain and other symptoms. The acupuncturist uses a sophisticated and complex system of diagnostic methods that take into consideration the person as a whole, discerning the body’s pattern of disharmony rather than isolated symptoms.

The aim of acupuncture is not only to eliminate or alleviate symptoms, but more importantly to treat the underlying causes of disease, to increase the ability to function, and to improve the quality of life.

Acupuncture is one of the newest primary health care professions in California. The potential benefits of acupuncture are widely recognized, and it is steadily being integrated into mainstream health care. More than 20 million Americans have tried acupuncture and Asian medicine since it was introduced in the United States in the 1970s. The risk of side effects from acupuncture is very low and the potential benefits are high.

Scientifically acupuncture has been shown to be analgesic, and It also enhances total body health by beneficially stimulating the immune system, the nervous system, and the endocrine system. From Chinese medicine we understand that acupuncture also benefits the circulation of the Qi, which influences, in its turn, the circulation of the blood. Chinese medicine also teaches us that acupuncture reaches to the internal organ systems of the body.