What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is only one of the modalities of Chinese Medicine. It consists of the insertion of very thin needles into the body at specific points shown to be effective in the treatment of specific health problems. These points have been mapped by the Chinese over a period of more than two thousand years. In the past three decades, electromagnetic research has confirmed the existence and location of these points. The other modalities are Diet, herbal remedies, Breathing intentionally and excercise, and bodywork.
How does acupuncture work?
Modern medical research is being done on how acupuncture works, but it is still early days for the methodical Western research process. One of my favorite avenues of exploration show that the path of the meridians can actually be traced – seen with the right scopes – through the connective tissue. In another area of exploration, the stimulation of the same acu-point lights up the same small area of the brain for all the test participants – and choosing a different point lights up a different area of the brain, but is still the same area for everyone tested.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on theories of the flow of Qi. You know that in Western science, light is considered both to be both a wave [energy] and a particle [matter], right? Qi has the same nature. It travels through distinct channels that cover the body somewhat like the circulatory system of blood and lymph vessels. According to this theory, acupuncture adjusts the flow of Qi in the body – much like clearing debris out of a riverbed to make it flow more smoothly. By restoring the free flow of Qi throughout the body, we treat both the symptoms you are aware of, and the underlying root cause of the imbalance. This explains the common phenomena of other ‘issues’ getting better when ‘one thing’ is being treated in the sessions. For example, you come for back pain, but after acu-treatments, you sleep more soundly, and the numbers in your next blood test are better. This happens regularly for people getting Oriental Medicine treatments.
How do ‘non-insertion techniques’ work?
Since the acupuncture points have an electro-magnetic nature at the surface of the skin, putting a magnet on the skin will stimulate the point. Tuning forks and essential oils also stimulate points. Needles have faster/stronger effects – but some people don’t need that. I started putting magnets on friends while I was in acupuncture school the first time, and people noticed physical changes with them alone, which is why I continued doing it. These days, I am using a lot of essential oils on channels, and that is working well too. I try new-to-me techniques, and if people get better, I keep doing them.