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How Does Acupuncture Work?

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Acupuncture is one of the key components in the system of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). In the TCM system of medicine, the body is seen as a delicate balance between two opposing but inseparable forces: Yin and Yang. Yin represents the cold, slow, dark, or passive principle. It represents the material, substantive, moist, and earth. Yang, on the other hand, represents the hot, excited, or active principle.

Within TCM, ideal health is achieved by maintaining a “balanced-state” and that disease is due to an internal imbalance of yin and yang. This imbalance leads to a blockage or deficiency in the flow of Qi (vital energy) along internal pathways known as meridians. It is believed that there are 12 main meridians and 8 secondary meridians and that there are more than 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body that connect with them.

meridian map for web
The meridians can be influenced by needling the acupuncture points; the acupuncture needles unblock the obstruction, and reestablish the regular flow through the meridians. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body’s internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption, and energy production activities, and in the circulation of their energy through the meridians.

The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points stimulate the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body’s own internal regulating system. For example, numerous studies have proven how certain acupuncture points can directly effect levels of
cortisol, b-endorphins, nor-epinephrine, dopamine, seratonin, white-blood cells (CD3+, CD4+, T-lymphocytes, eosinophiles, NK-Cells)

The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and emotional well-being.


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