From an Oriental medical perspective, health is defined as the ability of an organism to respond appropriately to a wide variety of challenges in a manner that maintains equilibrium and integrity. In fact, the body is programmed to constantly regenerate and restore itself. However, there are times when the body has lost its ability to adapt appropriately. Acupuncture works by creating a shift away from imbalanced patterns. This reminds the body how to resume more normal function.
Understanding this, good health is therefore not defined as purely the absence of symptoms. In fact, by the time most symptoms surface, the body has already been out of balance for some time. The symptoms are expressed to get our attention.
People choose to use acupuncture for a variety of reasons, depending on their unique needs and their personal goals. One of the most exciting contributions of Oriental medicine is how it can be used so effectively on a preventative basis. Using thorough examination techniques such as questioning, diagnostic touch, pulse diagnosis and tongue diagnosis, an acupuncturist can determine if your system is out of balance—even prior to the onset of symptoms.
There are some conditions, such as injuries, acute illness or symptoms with recent onset for which the patient can expect a quick and complete recovery and will probably not need follow-up care. For others, who may have been ill or exhibiting symptoms for an extended period of time, treatment is much more like a process. It takes a while to create lasting changes in the improper patterns which are creating the illness. In these cases, acupuncture works best for those who want to be actively engaged in their care and are willing to make additional lifestyle changes which will improve their ability to heal. For patients with degenerative diseases, or even terminal illness, acupuncture may not be curative but can provide needed relief and can vastly improve their quality of life.
'The Physician takes care of people's life...it is the art of humanity...
—Zhong Shan Medical Teaching, March 10, 1933