What is Acupuncture?

The science of acupuncture involves a treatment program that blends art and science in order to restore the balance of health in a person. Acupuncture is an Eastern health system that says the loss of health occurs due to the blockage of invisible energy channels in our body, and we may restore health in our bodies by restoring the flow of energy in these channels. In this healthcare modality, these energy channels are called Meridians, and there are hundreds of points along these Meridians which may be pressed upon to restore the flow of energy in these fields. These points along the Meridians may be manually pressed upon (Acupressure) and punctured by tiny needles (Acupuncture).

This philosophy sounds pretty far out there. In fact, many healthcare practitioners regard this profession as more of a pseudoscience than a science. Nevertheless, the medical program of acupuncture makes very specific predictions in terms of the areas of the body that must be worked on in order to treat very specific medical conditions. For example, the application of an acupuncture needle to a point between the base of the first (big toe) and second toe should help to treat a patient's neck pain. The application of an acupuncture needle at the midpoint of the ball of the foot should successfully treat a patient's neck/shoulder pain.

Acupuncture is one of the world's oldest healing practices. Though acupuncture was one among the fringes of healthcare practices in the United States, it has become much more accepted and practiced to this day. Today, many doctors and chiropractors encourage their patients to at least try this type of therapy, and many insurance companies offer this form of treatments in their plans. Acupuncture is now offered in many of the same facilities that offer chiropractic care, pain management, and alternative medicine. Another thing to consider is the fact that many more people today develop chronic back pain in their lives than ever before. Some reasons for the rise in chronic back pain cases include the rise of obesity, and an increase in the number of jobs that involve long periods of sitting. Many of these patients with chronic back pain cases seek out medical treatments, and many of them don't respond well to conservative treatments. The acupuncture treatment may be prescribed when other methods of pain management and healing have failed.

Acupuncture may be used to treat back pain, joint pain, and pain related to other musculoskeletal disorders. Acupuncture may also be used to induce labor, improve symptoms of chronic illness, and to treat other conditions. This system involves stimulating specific points of the body that are thought to affect the body's Meridians. These body points may be stimulated by pressing upon them with the hands, through a thin needle puncture, and electrical stimulation.

The most common acupuncture technique involves the insertion of a thin metallic needle. The insertion of the needle causes from no pain to minimal discomfort. The objection of the needle insertions is to restore the balance of the body's two opposing forces: the Yin and the Yang. The Yin represents the slow, cold, or passive principle. The Yang represents the excited, hot, or active principle. When the balance of these two opposing forces is disrupted or blocked, there are changes in the flow of our vital energy, or Chi (also called Qi). When there are blockages in the flow of our vital energy, we may experience pain or another symptom of disease.

There are approximately 15-20 Meridians in our body, and around 200 acupuncture points along these Meridians. Therapists who administer this therapy have the aid charts which indicate where there acupuncture points are along the surface of the body, and which structures or organs they affect by being stimulated.