Acupuncture is an established healing system that has been used by practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine for several thousand years, and acupuncture treatments are covered today by many health care insurance plans.
The Chinese were studying human anatomy and its functions well before Hippocrates and the ancient Greeks. Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners developed a deep understanding of how the body works, and they documented that each of the body’s systems and organs had their own individual functions. These practitioners also understood that all of the body’s organs and systems functioned in inter-connected relationships amongst each other—that is, nothing in the body (and mind) functioned in isolation.
Traditional Chinese Medicine discovered that the human body’s inter-connected relationships depend on a deep energetic life force called Qi (pronounced “chee) which, under healthy conditions, flows unimpeded throughout the body along physical pathways known as meridians—similar to how water flows in a river. When the flow of Qi is disrupted, or dammed up, from an injury, stress or negative emotions, blood stagnation occurs resulting in symptoms of pain or a decline in wellbeing.
To restore flow and promote the body’s natural healing mechanisms, acupuncture stimulates specific Nodes (differentiated nerve bundles) that are located at the acupuncture points. These treatments increase blood flow throughout the ENTIRE body and specifically to the injured area. As the increased blood flow helps clear damaged cellular material and inflammatory proteins from the injured area, it also delivers oxygen, nutrients, healing and pain relieving compounds such as endorphins and enkephalins to the site.
Put another way, you can liken an injury on your body to a section in your garden not thriving because a branch in the irrigation system has a reduced water flow from a kink or partial blockage. That section of your garden may get a little water and live but it won’t be strong and healthy—and this unhealthy section of the garden affects its symbiotic relationship with other parts of the garden. Restoring flow by unblocking the irrigation system allows water to flow to the “injured” section of the garden, thus healing the unhealthy section and restoring balance to the whole garden.
Similarly, when there is an injury/kink in your body, blood flow and electrical impulses are blocked and scrambled to a particular area. Acupuncture not only helps to clear these blockages so that the body can heal itself, acupuncture also affects and regulates the ENTIRE nervous system including the brain. One of the amazing results of this regulation is a calming and balancing effect on the mind and body. The relaxation aspect of acupuncture treatments help to reduce the negative effects of stress, which plays a very important part in the healing process.
Overall, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine treat the mind, body, and spirit as being inter-connected through many factors. When any factor is out of balance, it will affect the others. Conversely, when you treat any of these inter-connected factors, the others benefit. However, it’s important to note that Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine have neither an inherent spiritual philosophy nor a divine belief system. It is a physically-based medical system.
Significantly, the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) both recognize that many physical and psychological medical conditions can be treated effectively with acupuncture, and—as mentioned previously—many medical insurance plans cover acupuncture treatments.