Ancient Chinese Acupuncture Facts

Acupuncture is a medical therapy that is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and involves inserting needles in the skin at specific points known as ‘acupoints’ situated on meridians to stimulate specific points on the body. This procedure helps to stimulate the bodies innate healing abilities, unblock disruptions in the energy pathways and bring the body to a state of health and balance.

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To better understand how acupuncture works it is useful to think of the body as comprising of many individual systems that are interlinked and affect each other. For example we have a circulatory system, a respiratory system and a cardiovascular system to name but a few. In Traditional Chinese Medicine a body’s energy is vital to good health and flows through a meridian system in the body; and it is that meridian system that acupuncturists use as a diagnostic tool. When an imbalance in this flow of this vital energy arises in one or more of a body’s systems, illness can follow with a large variety of symptoms both physical and emotional. Having identified an imbalance to the flow of Qi an acupuncturist will seek to restore your body’s delicate balance with the insertion of small disposable sterile needles are inserted into specific points along a meridian.

There are more than 365 acupuncture points, located on various meridians that allow Qi to travel throughout the body. Each point has its own healing value and is selected as part of any treatment to restore the balance in the various systems of the body.

While the exact mechanisms of acupuncture are still being studied and understood, there are several theories that attempt to explain how it works:

Meridian and Qi Flow: According to TCM, there are channels or pathways called meridians throughout the body through which vital energy, called Qi, flows. It is believed that illness or discomfort arises when the flow of Qi is blocked or imbalanced. Acupuncture aims to stimulate specific points along these meridians, known as acupoints, to restore the flow of Qi and rebalance the body.
Neurotransmitter and Hormonal Regulation: Acupuncture is thought to stimulate the release of various neurotransmitters, such as endorphins (natural painkillers) and serotonin (a mood-regulating hormone). These substances can help reduce pain, promote relaxation, and improve overall well-being.
Modulation of Nervous System: Acupuncture may influence the autonomic nervous system, which regulates involuntary bodily functions. By stimulating certain acupoints, acupuncture can help balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions of the autonomic nervous system, leading to relaxation, stress reduction, and improved physiological functioning.
Local Microcirculation and Tissue Response: Acupuncture has been observed to increase blood flow to the local area where the needles are inserted. This improved circulation can promote healing, reduce inflammation, and deliver nutrients and oxygen to the tissues.
Gate Control Theory: This theory suggests that acupuncture stimulates sensory nerves, sending signals to the brain that can override or block pain signals. Essentially, acupuncture may “close the gate” to pain perception, providing relief.

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