Acupuncture is part of Oriental Medicine and is based on the principle of balancing energy flow in the body to correct physiological function. It is a technique for balancing the flow of energy or life force, known as Chi (Qi), through the meridians of your body. As long as this energy flows freely throughout the meridians, health is maintained. But once the flow of energy is blocked, the system is disrupted allowing pain and illness to occur. Acupuncturists work toward re-establishing balance by inserting very thin needles through the skin to create stimulation at specific points along the meridians in order to free up the Chi energy.

Acupuncture History

Some archeological studies report evidence that crude forms of acupuncture were used in Egypt and Persia over 7000 years ago. It is believed that the practice migrated to India and Tibet, eventually making its way to China where it thrived. Additionally, there is evidence that acupuncture was practiced in Babylon and South America 3000 – 5000 years ago, making it the oldest healing art known to man. In the 1950s, acupuncture and western medicine were merged by the Chinese government. Most Americans did not become aware of acupuncture until 1972 when president Nixon made a trip to China.

While in China covering the trip, an American reporter named James Reston developed acute appendicitis and underwent emergency surgery with the use of acupuncture anesthesia. His surgery and acupuncture treatment were widely covered by the media in the U.S., and since that time acupuncture has continued to grow in the U.S. The traditional explanation for the effects of acupuncture is rooted in the idea that there are channels of energy that 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. These meridians
are closely linked with the 12 primary organs of the body. Many of these you will recognize, such as the liver, large intestine, gall bladder, and heart. An obstruction in the movement of these rivers acts like a dam causing energy to back up into other areas.

Pain, illness or disease can be caused by diminished energy flow to a region or by excess energy in a channel caused by a blockage in another channel. The meridians can be influenced by needling the acupuncture points; the acupuncture needles unblock the obstructions at the dams, and re-establish the regular flow 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.

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