How does Acupuncture work?
I think I get someone asking me this question almost every single day. How does acupuncture work? Can you explain to me how acupuncture works? The short answer is ‘no’, I can’t explain to you how it works, because no one really knows how it works, it just does. But that does not mean I can’t help you understand how it can possibly work.
To put things in perspective, I don’t understand how gravity works. I understand what gravity is, and the rules of physics. I can feel it working because my feet stay on the ground and I don’t fly away. I can see gravity at work if I drop something and it falls to the floor. I have no idea how it’s working, it just does.
Acupuncture is actually the placement of very fine needles on specific points on the body. When we put a needle into the body, there is going to be a reaction. I help my patients understand how acupuncture works from a few different perspectives, and here they are.
1. Cut and Wound Healing
Acupuncture is all about getting energy to flow properly. Energy is transmitted throughout the body by blood. Blood transports nutrients, glucose, oxygen etc to all the cells in your body. Without adequate blood supply, your cells will die. When you get a cut on your skin, your body immediately sends more blood to the area to start the wound healing process. Your body knows there is a problem, so it sends more blood to fix the problem. When an acupuncture needle is inserted into your body, its like you are getting a very small cut, and the body responds by sending blood to the area. The heat in the blood is considered the Qi, and when there is Qi flow, health is restored.
2. Nerve Stimulation
There are nerves all over your body. The nerves send signals to and from the brain. There are large central nerves, and then there are much smaller ones connecting every cell of your body to your brain. When a needle is inserted into the skin or muscle, the nerves are stimulated, and send a message back to the brain that there is a problem which needs addressing. It is kind of like ringing a door bell or knocking on the door to alert someone that you are there, and you need help.
3. River Theory
The theory of Chinese medicine is that there are meridians or energy pathways on the body, which connect to internal and external organ systems. These pathways are like flowing rivers of water. If a river gets blocked it becomes a cesspool and is stagnant water. By inserting needles at specific points, it activates the rivers to flow more smoothly. It does make a lot of sense because