The science behind acupuncture


Acupuncture is an ancient holistic health care system, widely practiced in China but is also becoming more widely used an accepted as a medical practice in the United States and Europe. Acupuncture is known in the West as traditional Chinese medicine, a field which also includes herbs and other therapies.

Diagnostic systems of Chinese medicine also include pulse and tongue diagnosis. Contrary to allopathic, or symptom-based medicine, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine aims to eliminate the root cause of your problem, which is believed to originate from a dysfunction in your body’s energetic meridian system.

West vs. East perspectives

Meridian-based energy therapies like acupuncture are useful for treating numerous health problems, particularly pain. In China, acupuncture is used in lieu of anaesthesia during surgery. It is advantageous, as it does not have the health risks of general anaesthesia, the cost is one-third of the cost of anaesthesia, and recovery is also much quicker. Though westerners prefer undergoing invasive surgeries, millions of Americans are now seeking acupuncture to relieve chronic pain, nausea, high blood pressure, depression and much more.

Acupuncture is considered one of the alternative medicines in the west and is one of the oldest healing practices in the world. In China, hospitals offer allopathic medicines and acupuncture side-by-side, allowing patients to choose. If an adverse drug effect occurs, the patient can choose a reduced dose in combination with acupuncture.

Principles of acupuncture

According to traditional Chinese medicine, the body is a cohesive and complex system where everything is interconnected, and each part affects all other parts. There are 14 major energy channels, or meridians, that flow through your body. An energy called Chi, the vital force which keeps us alive, circulates along these meridians to all parts of the body, including every cell and all internal organs. Vibrant health results from a balanced, unimpeded flow of energy through the body.

Illness and pain are the byproducts of energy blockages along any of the meridians. Energy congested in these acupuncture points causes pain and illness. By inserting a thin needle into the congested area, energy flow gets regularized again. This way, the body can repair itself and maintain the optimal health level.

Miracles of acupuncture

According to research conducted by the World Health Organization in 2003, clinical trials involving acupuncture revealed that acupuncture impacts the body on multiple levels including:
Stimulating the conduction of electromagnetic signals, releasing pain-killing chemicals, and activating immune system cells.
Activating the body’s natural opioid system, which reduces pain or induces sleep. Stimulating the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, which modulate major body systems. Changing the secretion of neurotransmitters and neurohormones, positively influencing brain chemistry.

Using high-tech MRI imaging, researchers were able to visually demonstrate that acupuncture deactivates the limbic system, decreasing neuronal activity. It literally alters your pain experience by shutting down these deeper brain regions.
Even though many people question the validity of acupuncture as it is an ancient medicinal process, the research shows that there are in fact a number of benefits. If you use it side by side with modern medicine, it may improve your health and help you lead a better life.