The Essence of Acupuncture

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Acupuncture is an ancient oriental form of medicine which has been practiced in China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and many other eastern countries for the last 3000 years. It is used in the treatment of a wide range of conditions and has recently been accepted in western countries as well.

Acupuncture is known to be a ‘holistic medicine’ since it looks at a patient as the whole and unique individual considering his/her physical, emotional, and spiritual states, as well as constitution, body type, family history, diet, environments, stress levels, and life style, and treats not only the disease but also the person.

Acupuncture is based on the concept of Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’ and often translated as Life Force Energy) and its pathways called Jing Luo (often referred as channels or meridians).

Qi transforms and transports nutrients (and the mind) through the Jing Luo to allow the body to function properly. The Jing Luo, or channels are not visible on the body but they are connected to organs, integrating the body systems and functions.

If Qi is blocked or flowing too slowly in the channels, it may cause problems manifesting in physical signs and symptoms. Acupuncturists would try to restore the free flow of the Qi by working on acupuncture points in the channels.

It is often said that Acupuncture helps balance Yin and Yang. The concept of Yin-Yang is often difficult for many Westerners to grasp. Yin represents the shady cooler characteristics of nature including human, and Yang represents the sunny warmer characteristics, which are two opposites. However Yin and Yang can exist as relative to each other, relying their existences on each other. There is a constant flow of Yin and Yang and a change in one will result in changes in the other. If those changes have been accumulating to a certain extent, there can be a dramatic turn-over or shift between two, transforming to the other’s quality, Yin to Yang and Yang to Yin.

Even though it is not clear exactly how acupuncture works, scientific research has suggested its effectiveness in affecting internal organs and different processes in the body, including enhancing the immune system, regulating blood circulation and blood pressure, altering secretions in the digestive system, and reducing inflammation. It is also speculated that acupuncture stimulates the release of hormones and neurotransmitters that help the body respond to injury and stress.

Most new patients are amazed by how painless the acupuncture can be. When the needle has been correctly inserted and stimulated, the patient may feel some mild sensation of heaviness or tingling around the vicinity of needling or affected site (called as ‘De Qi’ in Chinese), depending on the condition being treated and the practitioner’s intention.