The process of acupuncture healing has been used in China for over 2000 years. Acupuncture healing involves inserting fine needles into key parts of the body to promote health. These needles can be manipulated by hand or through gentle electrical stimulation.
The principle behind acupuncture healing is that the body has a natural flow of energy (Qi) which travels around the body just beneath the skin in channels called meridians.
If these meridians become blocked, we can experience pain or illness. The trained therapist, by inserting the needles in the appropriate place, can unblock the energy flow and restore health.
Western medicine has typically dismissed the claims of complementary therapies such as this, but there is an increasing body of evidence to support its effectiveness.
A University of Maryland study found that patients with osteoarthritis of the knee experienced significantly reduced pain, while other studies have found it to be effective for the treatment of back pain, headaches, and menstrual cramps.
So how does it work? Practitioners believe in the theory of life energy and meridians, but western scientists seek more tangible mechanisms to explain its success.
Some of the theories proposed include the following:
- That the needles stimulate the release of key endorphins and opioids, the body's natural painkillers
- That neurotransmitters and neurohormones in the brain are activated
- That the needles elevate the levels of glucose and other bloodstream chemicals
Whether you believe in energy flow and meridians, or that the needles stimulate key nerve and chemical reactions, there is no doubting the effectiveness of this ancient form of treatment.