Acupuncture

Acupuncture is one of the keystones of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a 5,000 year old approach to medicine which is as valid today as it was five millennium ago. The oldest medical text book in the world, 4,700 years old, describes acupuncture and the theory behind it.

The fundamental theory surrounding TCM is that there is an energy force flowing throughout the body. This force, known as Qi (pronounced "Chee") comprises all of the essential aspects of life--physical, emotional, and spiritual. Qi flows through various channels throughout the body, called "meridians". When the flow of Qi is impeded, illness can result. According to TCM, there are fourteen primary meridians running in pairs vertically up and down the surface of the body. Qi is constantly flowing through the meridians. When the body is balanced, all is well. However, there are times when the body falls out of balance and this balance must be restored through traditional Chinese medicinal practices.

TCM teaches that the body falls out of balance due to an imbalance of two forces that comprise Qi: Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang are opposite forces, like the positive and negative forces surrounding an atom. Just as an atom is composed of both positive and negative charges and cannot be found alone, so living beings and their components are composed of Yin and Yang that constantly flow among each other to create the Qi. When there is too much Yin or too little Yang or too little Yin and too much Yang, the Qi is disturbed, the body falls out of balance, and there is illness.

Acupuncture is used to restore the imbalance between Yin and Yang and allow the Qi to freely flow throughout the meridians. Acupuncture points are specific locations where the Meridians come to the surface of the skin and are easily accessible by "needling" them. This needling restores the balance of Yin and Yang and improves the flow of Qi.

Acupuncturists used nine types of sterile disposable needles of variance lengths. There are a number of precise techniques used by acupuncturists for inserting the needles. Points can be needled at different angles relative to the skin surface. The acupuncturist can insert the needle using various motions or combinations of motions including thrusting, plucking, and vibration techniques. Depending upon the therapy and treatment, heated herbs may be applied to the needle or electricity may be used to stimulate the points through the needle.

Western scientists have noted the successful applications of acupuncture and have tried to determine why it works (Western scientists have seen the success of acupuncture and do not dispute that it does work).

Some of the popular theories include:

  1. That the stimulated points raise the level of hormones in the body and improve the overall body's immunity levels
  2. Certain neurotransmitters such as serotonin and noradrenaline are stimulated by acupuncture
  3. Acupuncture dilates the blood vessels, possibly by stimulating the body to release vasodilators such as histamine
  4. Acupuncture stimulates the secretion of endorphins to reduce pain
  5. Acupuncture affects the ability of the nervous system to perceive pain.

Dr. Pi is trained in both TCM and Western Medicine (he has a post doctoral degree in cardiology and was Chief of Cardiology at one of China's leading hospitals) and can provide you with his understanding about the efficacy of acupuncture in today's modern world.