HOW DOES ACUPUNCTURE WORK?
Acupuncture works by accessing Qi, which is defined as energy or “life force”. Qi moves through our bodies in a network called meridians pathways. The smooth flow of this energy has a profound effect on the physiological function and health of the body. When the flow of Qi is unimpeded, the body is in good health and the emotions are in balance. Poor diet, too much or too little exercise, emotional distress and injury can cause a disruption in the flow of Qi in the body. With acupuncture, Qi disruptions are corrected by inserting fine needles into specific points along these energetic pathways. In doing so, the practitioner is able to regulate the flow of Qi through the body, perhaps building the Qi when there is too little, or moving the Qi when there is a blockage, essentially restoring normal energy flow and stimulating the body’s own healing response. Acupuncture can help to break a pattern of disharmony which manifests as physical or emotional “dis-ease”, and direct the body to a more healthy and balanced state.
As Western scientific research continues in the field of acupuncture, we are learning more (but certainly not all!) the mechansims that may be at play underlying the ancient concepts of Meridian and Qi theory. Insertion of fine needles into the body at the specific acupuncture points has been proven to elicit specific physiological repsonses including release of endorphins (the body's own natural pain killing substances) and stimulating areas of the skin with a higher electrical conductivity. Another interesting finding is the link between meridians and fascia, the connective tissue that envelops all the structures of the body (muscles and internal organs) from head to toe. These are just a few of the compelling discoveries that help to create a bridge between the Eastern and Western "road maps" to the human body!
It is fascinating for me to practice this ancient healing art within the paradigm it was created, but to continue to learn and explore how the modern scientific approach to understanding the body's workings can indeed validate and explain, in part, the efficacy of acupuncture and it's ability to withstand the test of time.