Acupuncture is part of a system of medicine that originated in Asia over three thousand years ago, and has evolved into a complete and holistic medical system. It is a tradition of healing rich in theory and extensive in its clinical application. Practitioners of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine have used this holistic medical system to help millions of people get well.
In Oriental Medicine, illness is viewed as the manifestation of disharmony of the body's life energy, known as "Qi" (pronounced "chee"). Qi flows in pathways, or meridians, throughout the body and internal organs, integrating the body in an organic way. If the flow of Qi in the meridians becomes blocked or there is an inadequate supply of Qi, then the body fails to maintain harmony and balance, and disease or illness follows. This can result from stress, overwork, poor diet, disease pathogens, injury, weather and environmental conditions, and other lifestyle factors. By inserting very fine needles into acupuncture points, the acupuncturist is able to facilitate the smooth flow of Qi and adjust imbalances within the body, and thereby treat pain and disease.
In modern medical terms, the insertion of needles into acupuncture points stimulates sensory receptors in the skin and muscles, which in turn stimulate nerves to transmit impulses to the brain. Studies have shown acupuncture to produce biochemical and physiological shifts in the body, including an increase in the body's own natural painkillers and anti-inflammatory agents. Acupuncture strengthens the immune system to fight off infection and disease; it affects heart rate, blood flow, brain activity, and blood pressure; it regulates the endocrine system in the production of hormones; and it stimulates the nervous system to release endorphins and chemicals that affect pain perception, mood, and overall health. Acupuncture works as both a natural healing protocol and preventative treatment modality, functioning to restore homeostasis in the body. The effects of acupuncture are cumulative, long-lasting, and enhanced by appropriate diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices.
With treatments focused on the root of the imbalance, acupuncture can treat an enormously wide range of conditions. Recent studies have proven acupuncture to be effective for all types of conditions, such as musculoskeletal injuries, back and neck pain, arthritis, neurological conditions, digestive disorders, gynecological conditions, and stress-related conditions. Acupuncture speeds up the body's healing process, and may be used in conjunction with western treatments such as physical therapy and physician-directed pain interventions.