A Brief Explanation of Acupuncture
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and to improve functioning. This is done by inserting needles and/or applying electrical stimulation at very precise acupuncture points.
How does acupuncture work?
The classical Chinese explanation is that channels of energy run in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. These energy channels, called meridians, are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues. An obstruction, in the movement of these energy rivers is like a dam that backs up the flow in one part of the body and restricts it in others. The meridians can be influenced by needling the acupuncture points; the acupuncture needles unblock the obstructions at the dams, and reestablish the regular flow through the meridians. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body’s internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption, and energy production activities, and in the circulation of their energy through the meridians. The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body’s own internal regulating system. The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and emotional well-being.
What are the needles like? Do they hurt?
Acupuncture needles are very thin and solid, and are made from stainless steel. There is no risk of infection from the disposable needles. Most patients feel no pain. Occasionally, a few patients feel only minimal pain as the needles are inserted. Once the needles are in place, there is no pain felt.