What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture has been developed and researched over centuries to give us a complex and detailed understanding of the body’s energetic balance. Today, acupuncture is practised all around the world and clinical trials are confirming its efficacy in the treatment of a range of conditions.
In general, acupuncture is described as a therapy that treats symptoms via the insertion of very fine needles in the skin, at certain points along pathways. These pathways are called meridians, and their function is to transport blood and energy, called ‘qi’ in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Each meridian is associated with particular physiological systems and internal organs.
Qi is believed to help regulate and balance the body’s functions. Disease can be the result of an imbalance of the flow of qi in the body. It might be caused by the influence of stress, diet or living conditions. For instance, chronic pain is often caused by the obstruction of qi and blood in the meridians. This obstruction can be resolved with the use of specific acupuncture points on the meridians, helping to restore and regulate the flow of qi.
In Western scientific terms, the needling sensation unique to acupuncture stimulates the body’s release of neurochemicals such as endorphins (a class of opiates naturally produced by the brain to provide pain relief). By stimulating high threshold, small diameter nerves in the muscles, neural messages are sent to the spinal cord and activate the brain stem and hypothalamus, which, in turn, trigger endogenous opioid mechanisms.
Another western scientific theory suggests that acupuncture works through the ‘gate control’ theory of pain, in which the input of the needle inhibits the sensory input of pain in the central nervous system.
Research also suggests that the presence of the needle within the tissue of the body stimulates vascular and immunomodulatory factors such as mediators of inflammation.
“The best and most efficient pharmacy is within your own system.” ~Robert C. Peale
What can acupuncture treat?
People seek acupuncture for a wide variety of conditions. Acupuncture textbooks cover a similar range of conditions and illnesses to textbooks on Western pathology. Acupuncture does not merely treat symptoms; instead it treats the underlying cause of illness. The World Health Organization has recognized the ability of acupuncture to treat dozens of common ailments including:
- Neuro-muscular conditions: (arthritis, sciatica, dizziness, neck/ shoulder/ back pain, headaches, frozen shoulder)
- Emotional and psychological disorders (anxiety, depression, stress)
- Respiratory disorders: (sinusitis, allergies, asthma)
- Digestive disorders: (constipation, indigestion, gastritis, IBS)
- Reproductive disorders (irregular menstruation, infertility, PMS, menopausal discomforts, painful periods)
Whatever health issues you may have, there’s a very good chance that we can help you or point you to someone who can.
Acupuncture also recognizes many disharmonies that have no medical diagnosis. Acupuncture may produce feelings of positivity, helping you to relax and think more clearly. Many people enjoy the effects of acupuncture for this reason.
If you’d like to get an acupuncture treatment, you can visit one of the Acupuncture Collective Clinics.
“Health is a relationship between you and your body” ~Terri Guillemets