Acupuncture operates on the theory that there are patterns of energy, or Qi (“chee”), that flow through the body. Health is maintained by this normal flow of Qi. However, when the Qi becomes blocked or disrupted, pain and disease arise. Injuries and trauma, emotional stress, dietary and lifestyle choices, and medications can all disrupt the flow of Qi and contribute to the development of illness.
Acupuncture, therefore, is the art and science of placing needles at specific locations to unblock and harmonize Qi. By balancing Qi, acupuncture relieves the symptoms of disease and also works to prevent the development of new diseases.
Follow the link below to learn more about how we understand acupuncture and its benefits in a modern context, including the World Health Organization’s list of diseases and disorders for which acupuncture has been proven an effective treatment.
A Modern Understanding of Acupuncture
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been practiced for at least 3,000 years and developed during thousands of years of discussion, scholarship, and practice. Although Chinese medicine pre-dates western scientific methods, it is clinically effective for addressing numerous disorders.
Evidence suggests that acupuncture works in complex ways to create numerous changes within the body. From a modern perspective, research indicates that acupuncture affects changes within the neurological, circulatory, and lymphatic systems. However, the mechanism of action of acupuncture is still being debated and explored by research. Many studies have suggested that the analgesic effects of acupuncture are due to the release of specific opioids, endorphins, and neuromodulators that moderate pain. However, it will probably take several years or even decades for researchers to come to a consensus on how acupuncture works.