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How Does Acupuncture Work?

acupuncture needlesWith the rise in interest of acupuncture over the recent years, many people often ask how it works.

It does indeed seem very strange that a person can receive health benefits from having a few needles inserted into their skin. However, acupuncture has demonstrated remarkable healing capabilities time and again.

According to ancient Chinese wisdom, acupuncture works by addressing the flow of Qi in the body. Qi directly translates as 'energy', an invisible substance that the Chinese believe permeates and animates all aspects of life. According to Chinese medical philosophy, when the Qi is either in a state of excess, deficiency or stagnation then there will be ill health.

Therefore, by inserting tiny needles into very specific locations on the body known as the acupuncture points, the acupuncturist is able to return the body back to a state of health and well-being over time.

By working to stimulate the acupuncture points of the body, the practitioner is able to have an effect of various bodily systems and structures. Systems such as the respiratory, endocrine, circulatory, nervous, digestive, immune and reproductive systems can all be influenced by acupuncture.

It is not really the acupunctureist or the needles that heal the patient. Acupuncture is a clever system that can help to stimulate the body's own, very powerful healing response.

Does acupuncture hurt?

For the most part, acupuncture is generally painless. A person may experience a sharp scratch, dull aching sensation or even a mild electrical current at the moment of needling. Following the insertion of the needles, the patient will ususally start to feel anything from a mild to a profound sense of relaxation.

How long do the needles stay in for?

Different schools and styles of acupuncture may have a different take on this however, the ususal leangth of time acupuncture needles remain in place during a treatment range between ten and twenty minutes.

Some schools closely pay attention to the circadian rhythms and therefore, will leave the needles in for a very specific leangth of time in order to effect this cycle.

What can acupuncture help with?

Acupuncture is the oldest complete medical system, dating back more than 3,000 years. Over the centuries it has been used to treat all kinds of symptoms and ailments.

As the system can address all systems and structures of the body, theoretically it aims to address all ailments and symptoms. However, modern science has found acupuncture especially effective in treating pain of the back, knee, neck, shoulder and elbow as well as condtions like osteoarthritis of the knee, headaches, migraines and even infertility.

Acupuncture in the modern world

acupuncture needle in a handAcupuncture continues to thrive and is growing in popularity across the world. In China, people have the option of either western of Chinese medicine when visiting the doctors. In some hospitals in China, acupuncture is also used during operations for open heart surgery and brain surgery.

In the west acupuncture is more commonly found in the private sector however, some national health systems are also now incorporating it's use.

The US military have also embraced acupuncture over the more recent years and use it to treat their soldiers for post traumatic stress disorder, stress, anxiety and pain control. The US army have dramatically named this kind of treatment 'battlefield acupuncture'. This is a true testiment to the art of acupuncture.

Here is an interesting video showing the US army using acupuncture and the reported benefits by a few of the soldiers that have been treated.