Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
Traditional Oriental Medicine includes acupuncture, herbal therapy, cupping, moxibustion, bodywork and dietary therapy. This type of healing medicine is over 2000 years old and is based on an energetic model rather than the biochemical model of western medicine.
Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine, sterile, disposable needles into select acupoints body to affect the flow of Qi (energy) in the body. The intention of acupuncture is to regulate and harmonize the functioning of internal organs and their related meridians. Each organ is responsible for specific processes and the entire organ system interfaces through a series of trajectories, called meridian to form an integrated system. Health is optimal when all organs operate at their fullest potential. Disease, illness and emotional upset arise when one or more organs are deficient or excess in their function.
How Acupuncture Works
How Does It Work?
Western science presents and number of theories to attempt to explain how acupuncture might work. One common theory is the Placebo effect but this has been disproved by a number of studies. The endorphin theory suggests that needling certain points can stimulate the release of endorphins through certain nerves connected to certain muscles, thereby alleviating pain.
The gate control theory proposes acupuncture effects pain perception. The ‘gate’ is part of the nervous system along the spinal cord in the region called the substatia gelatinosa, through which all pain signals travel.
Acupuncture has also been proven to increase immunity by raising levels of antibodies, white blood cells, certain hormones, immunoglobins, and other chemicals that relate to the body’s ability to defend itself against foreign invaders. Acupuncture also affects levels of certain neurotransmitters such as serotonin and nor adrenaline in areas of the brain such as the reticular formation system that control arousal degrees, possibly producing calming effects during and after treatments. Also, by altering levels of neurotransmitters, acupuncture can influence the release of hormones. Acupuncture has effects on the Circulatory system. Needling can lead to the constriction or dilation of blood vessels by the body’s release of vasodilators like histamine. This theory accounts for acupuncture’s ability to help treat high or low blood pressure.
Another common theory called the electrical theory suggests electromagnetic fields of the body constantly produce minute electrical discharges, thus creating an electrical field that can influence cell growth, development, and functioning. Research has generated evidence that electromagnetic fields of the body and the meridians associated with acupuncture are related. Acupuncture points are located in areas of low electrical resistance, so needling can stimulate the electrical fields and alter levels of neurotransmitters in the body.