How Acupuncture Works
A couple of the most commonly asked questions during an initial acupuncture treatment are: how does acupuncture work? Is there something applied to the needles? The second question has a much simpler answer- no. Nothing is applied to the single use sterile needles that are used for acupuncture.
So, how do little thin needles inserted in certain spots in the body bring about a healthful outcome? That is the question that pages can be written about!
Of course, the western mindset wants to know what happens at a biochemical level in the body once needles are inserted, and there is growing body of research on this, but I will talk about this from an eastern perspective. It is after all a health modality from the eastern part of the world; it should be, and is best explained, by concepts integral to it.
At its core is the concept of balance. Simple, right? But not so easy to attain when the demands of our daily lives are constantly at work to bring our physical and emotional wellbeing out of balance. Very rarely does one come across an individual in perfect balance. Part of the reason is that balance is a dynamic process, not a static one. It requires continuous attention, something that most people are not in the habit of doing. When the body is not in balance then all sorts of disharmonies or even disease begin to take root.
Acupuncture works by helping to restore balance so the body can more effectively use its own innate qi (more on that later) to stay healthy. A simple example of this is heartburn. Many people experience this because of certain foods they eat or it may be of a more internal or chronic nature. When the qi of the stomach starts to move up instead of moving down, which is its “natural way”, one may experience symptoms of what is commonly known as heartburn (in Chinese medicine the diagnosis will have a different name). By the use of carefully selected points- determined by an individual assessment- acupuncture can help restore balance to this process. With time the qi begins to move in its correct direction and a healthy balance can then be achieved without the constant use of medications. Of course this is a simplistic example, but it is helpful in explaining how the body can get out of balance and how acupuncture can help restore it.
More later… Namaste!