How does Acupuncture work?

How does Acupuncture Work? This is the million dollar question. It was asked in every class at school and I hear it at least once a day in the clinic. This ancient medicine has withstood the test of time, dating back over 2000 years ago when it became an organized medical system. Yet there is thought that this medical practice stems from ideas over 4000-5000 years old. Its successes has been clinical proven, tested, researched, and documented thousands of times over. But we are still unable to pin point exactly HOW it works. In the scientific community this lack of explanation can be quite daunting. But the results and patient testimonials speak for themselves. There are a few major hypothesizes that break down the mechanism of action that makes Acupuncture so effective.  

 Around forty of these needles can fit into one hypodermic needle!

Around forty of these needles can fit into one hypodermic needle!

From a Chinese Medicine perspective, Acupuncture which is only one facet of Chinese medicine, is based upon a system of thought that there is an energetic force known as Qi ("Chee") that flows through the body in pathways or meridians, and when out of balance leads to states of disease or injury The theory behind this medicine explains the physiology and pathology of the human body, uses specific principles of diagnosis, and views prevention/ and treatment of disease from a holistic standpoint while noticing the relationship of change and development between the human body and the natural environment. Utilizing small needles in conjunction with energetic points located upon these meridians, Acupuncture is believed to work with the Qi to bring more balance and health to the body. 

From a western science perspective one major hypothesis is that the insertion of these tiny needles can produce a release of endorphins. Endorphins are neurochemicals that help to inhibit pain and produce feelings of pleasure or euphoria. A recent study shows that Acupuncture works with the nerve fibers of the body to send information along the long nerve tracts. "The insertion of the acupuncture needle disrupts this circuit and numbs our sensitivity to pain.” The National institute for Health believes that Acupuncture produces many biological responses within the central nervous system causes changes in blood flow, heart rate, hormone regulation and release of neuropeptides. 

Another is that the acupuncture needles work with the fascial tissue of the body, a complex network of connective tissue that surrounds all muscles and organs. It connects and influences every  muscle, organ, nerve and blood vessel. This matrix of support that the fascia makes up within the body is an important means of communication linking every cell. If the needles are able to interact with the fascia then they are also able to communicate with the bodys physiological functions. The acupuncture channels are also oddly similar to the visual facial planes. 

Another view of how Acupuncture works is that the insertion of these tiny needles cause micro-injuries to the body creating an immune response. The immune system then responds by sending inflammatory proteins, white blood cells and other chemicals to this area. These tiny needles then can produce a large response from the immune system in hopes to deal with the bigger issues at hand. 

I believe that it is a combination of all of the above theories, and probably even a little bit more. This complex and intricate system of medicine is almost too good to be true. The results are astonishing and people are living happier and healthier lives. Which ever resonates with you, the most important research is the kind you do yourself. So make yourself an appointment and find out today!

 

Benefits of Acupuncture

 image from prevention.com

image from prevention.com

  • Anxiety/Stress Reduction

  • Pain Management

  • Infertility

  • Digestive issues

  • Headaches/migraines

  • Allergies

  • Hypertension

  • Breach position of fetus

  • Arthritis

  • Improve sequela of stroke

  • and much more!

 

Sources

https://www.actcm.edu/news/new-scientific-breakthrough-proves-why-acupuncture-works/

https://www.medicinenet.com/acupuncture/article.htm#how_does_acupuncture_work

 This ancient medicine holds many secrets inside its healing modalities.

This ancient medicine holds many secrets inside its healing modalities.