Acupuncture is part of the healing traditions of the Orient and has been used consistently for at lease 2,500 years. It is a remarkable and complete system of medicine based on using the body’s own innate healing potential.
Traditional Oriental medicine defines health as a balance between the opposing forces of yin and yang. The attraction between them creates an energy known as “Qi”, similar to the concept of life force. Qi flows to all parts of the body through 14 major meridians or channels that run along the surface of the body and then move towards the interior. Acupuncture is the skillful placement of fine needles at specific locations along these channels. The ultimate goal of acupuncture is to help restore the balanced flow of blood, nutrients and “Qi” in the body.
Twelve of the 14 major channels are associated with a specific organ of the body. Stimulation along these channels is said to affect the functioning of that specific organ and in addition work as a sphere of influence on other tissues and substances relating to that organ system.
In Oriental medicine, disease is thought to result from an excess or deficiency of Qi in some part of the body. Emotional imbalances are believed to play a major role in the development of disease. In addition, seasonal influences, dietary factors, sexual and physical activity are also thought to affect the balance and thus affect health.
The scholars, sages and physicians of the Orient have understood about the flow of Qi for thousands of years but just recently has there been enough interest and the appropriate scientific technology to research the mechanisms of action for acupuncture. The result of this research has led the American Medical Association to state that acupuncture is the only alternative therapy that has substantial research to prove its effectiveness.
Some time ago, the National Institute of Health published the results of a several year study of acupuncture. Their findings confirmed the effectiveness of acupuncture for the following conditions: postoperative pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, pregnancy-induced nausea, postoperative dental pain, stroke rehabilitation, headache, addictions, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and asthma.
Acupuncture is already recognized as an effective treatment for almost all types of pain and many other health conditions. The current research demonstrates that acupuncture affects the body on multiple levels. It stimulates the production and release of numerous biochemical substances called neurotransmitters which affect the nervous system, metabolism, emotions and the immune system. Endorphins, one group of these substances, helps to modulate pain, elevate mood and increase immune system response. Serotonin strongly affects mood and behavior and acts as a precursor to Melatonin which is a neurohormone. Melatonin helps the body deal with stress more effectively.
Acupuncture also helps to normalize the function of the glandular system especially the adrenals, thyroid, hypothalamus and pituitary glands. In addition, acupuncture increases circulatory function by stimulating central and peripheral blood flow.
Whether analyzing acupuncture from a traditional or scientific viewpoint, it seems acupuncture is here to stay and is rapidly gaining respect as an alternative therapy. Currently, many insurance companies including some HMOs are including coverage for acupuncture treatments. For a free brochure and/or information regarding your insurance, please call Acu-Care Health Centers at 619.282.8068 or 619.470.4714.
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