Acupuncture: How It Works And What It Does

Of the many alternative and complementary treatments available, acupuncture is one of the most well known and most practiced. It is also a therapy that sparks curiosity in many people. How does it work? What makes it effective? What does it treat?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how acupuncture works and what it does for the body, it is important to familiarize yourself with the concept of qi (pronounced: “chee”). Qi is a bioelectrical force that moves throughout the body via channels, or meridians. According to Classical Chinese Medicine, all pain and disease occur as a result of stagnation of qi and blood. Therefore, the basic treatment for any patient or illness is, simply put, to move qi and blood.

Acupuncture works by moving qi and blood through the body’s meridians, which are invisible channels that run along the surface of the body and dive internally to connect with internal organs. Each meridian contains several acupuncture points along the surface of the skin. During treatment, an acupuncture needle is inserted into an acupuncture point just below the surface of the skin. Because the acupuncture needle is metal and metal conducts electricity, it encourages the flow of qi and blood. As the qi moves through the channel, it communicates with other channels and organs in order to help organ systems communicate and increases harmony in the body.

Chinese medicine and acupuncture are holistic treatments set out to create balance in the body by correcting patterns of disharmony. Rather than treat a specific ailment, acupuncture seeks to change the conditions of the body’s internal environment that are the cause of the symptom(s) that the patient is experiencing. For example, if an organ system is deficient or weak, acupuncture can be used to tonify or nourish that organ system. On the other hand, if an organ system is working in excess, acupuncture can also be used to reduce or diminish its activities in order to effectively balance the body. Patients experiencing anxiety, depression, pain, skin conditions, endocrine or digestive imbalances can benefit greatly from acupuncture.

One more thing that you should know about acupuncture is that it absolutely does not hurt. Often times, when patients think of a needle, they think of the large hollow needles used in conventional medicine to draw blood or administer a shot. Acupuncture needles are very thin and are not hollow. Many patients cannot even feel the needles being inserted into the acupuncture points, or at most, they might feel a slight pinprick. In fact, many patients love acupuncture because it causes the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. During a typical session, patients feel relaxed and happy and experience rejuvenation on a deep level. In fact, many of my patients often fall asleep on the table!

Ready to give acupuncture a try? Call us at 412.571.9355 or email us to schedule your first consultation.