Acupuncture is an ancient method of healing within the wide and comprehensive system of classical Chinese medicine, an art and a science of medicine with a written history of more than 5000 years. Safe and effective, acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin sterile (micro-filament) needles into various points of concentrated energy throughout the body. The insertion of needles into these powerful energy centers elicits a healing response from the body. Modern Western research is only now beginning to understand and confirm (using case-controlled clinical studies) what these ancient Taoist sages – with their remarkable intuitive and proprioceptive capacities, rich and meticulous documentation, and centuries of development – always knew, that the body has an incredible ability for self-healing and if properly supported this healing can be accelerated, reestablishing balance naturally and even changing the landscape of the body.
When the body is subjected to stimulation through acupuncture, a cascading healing response takes place, the nervous system is reset and the body’s resources are reoriented/redistributed to where they are most needed. The primary mechanism involved is the “Qi mechanism” (vital life force energy; intelligent information). Qi circulates throughout the body similar to the how the cardiovascular system functions, however, when the body is diseased, the natural movement of Qi is disrupted. Proper movement of Qi is thus reestablished through needling the points, stirring energy at the site of insertion and along the corresponding energy pathways. These pathways correspond to very specific organ and tissue systems in profound and intricate ways. Freeing the flow of this energy assists the body in returning naturally to a state of balance.
From a biomedical point of view, acupuncture sets in motion the body’s natural healing response with its ability to stimulate the immune system and mechanisms for restoring homeostasis. Every major physiological system of the body is activated by acupuncture: the skin, fascia, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular system, cerebral, genitourinary, lymphatic, endocrine and immune systems. Needle insertion releases endorphin, norepinephrine and enkephalin (powerful pain killers), reduces inflammation, reestablishes homeostasis, and promotes blood flow. Acupuncture causes positive “micro traumas” that stimulate the body’s ability to spontaneously heal tissue. Acupuncture reduces both the intensity and perception of pain through a process known as “descending control normalization,” involving the endogenous pain modulation circuits in the human brain (Link here to read more from one study).
Pressure, heat, or electrical stimulation on acupuncture needles may further enhance the effects. Acupuncture is able to effectively resolve pain, improve sleep, boost immunity, reduce inflammation, promote fertility, support tissue healing, improve digestive function, and promote a sense of well-being, clarity and groundedness to name but part of its wide scope.