Acupuncture Theory: Why Acupuncture is Effective?
From the desk of Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac., DNBAO...
There are many theories explaining how and why acupuncture works. In western models, research has shown that acupuncture may regulate the nervous system, activate endorphins, stimulate the immune system or alter brain chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones. In this post, I'll explain why acupuncture may be effective for such a diverse range of conditions in the body from both a Western and Eastern perspective.
Acupuncture is a key component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a comprehensive medical system based on over 3,000 years of clinical observation. Acupuncture theory views the body from a holistic approach. The body’s signs and symptoms help an acupuncturist form a diagnostic impression based on a pattern of symptoms. This is why your acupuncturist may ask you several questions about your overall health that may seem unrelated to your primary concern. The treatment plan developed will then not only be designed to treat the symptoms that you are experiencing but also the underlying cause of the problem.
It takes time to stimulate the body’s own natural healing process. Therefore, the course of treatment with acupuncture or related modalities may take time and the results may be subtle at first. However, acupuncture works to treat the root cause of many disorders of the body so once patients start to notice a change in the symptoms that they are experiencing, this is typically a signal that a permanent shift in the body’s physiology has taken place. A course of acupuncture helps to optimize all of the body’s systems meaning that patients often experience an improvement in their main concern as well as other minor issues as the body begins to work more efficiently. Acupuncture is more concerned with the underlying physiological change that has occurred to cause specific symptoms rather than the diagnosis.
TCM theory suggests that the body is composed of an essential substance, called qi (chee). Qi is thought to be the essential energy which stimulates all of the important physiological functions of the body. Qi circulates through the body through 14 major meridians or pathways similar to the way blood circulates through major vessels. These meridians function as connections between major organs, muscles and tissues of the body to maintain a delicate balance of qi, yin and yang. Yin and yang are two other important concepts in TCM representing the foundation and activity of all of the major physiological systems of the body. Physiological health is viewed as an intricate balance between qi, yin and yang. It may surprise patients to learn that the same Chinese diagnosis may be related to seemingly unrelated conditions. For example, an common Chinese diagnosis described as Liver Qi Stagnation may be the root cause for migraines, digestive issues, or painful periods.
When the body is experiencing pain, discomfort or disease, an imbalance is occurring in one or more of the meridian systems. Acupuncture is the process by which small, fine, disposable needles are inserted into acupuncture points along these meridians in order to access the qi and effect the functioning of major physiological systems of the body. Acupuncture points are areas where the qi is thought to be the most accessible. Research has also shown that acupuncture points have different electrical resistance and higher neuromuscular and vascular innervation. These points are then used to unblock, restore and reconnect the flow of qi, yin and yang.
Additional modalities such as electroacupuncture, ear acupressure, cupping, tui na, gua sha, nutrition and herbal medicine are also used for treatment of various ailments. Today, the amount of evidence-based research is growing in support of acupuncture as it has become a valued treatment method for numerous conditions. These include: back pain, disc degenerative disease, fibromyalgia, the common cold, angina, tinnitus, osteoarthritis, addictions, infertility, asthma, and headaches. Acupuncture is also effective in ameliorating the symptoms of AIDS and cancer patients.
Feel free to email me for related research articles or additional explanation regarding your specific diagnosis. This information can be an important way to gain understanding and insight to the health problems you have been experiencing.
Want to learn more about acupuncture? Schedule a complimentary consult to learn more about how acupuncture can benefit your health this year. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac., DNBAO
Jessica L. Molleur is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and massage therapist in Massachusetts and California. She first became interested in acupuncture as a soccer player searching for an alternative to knee surgery and discovered the many benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of California at Davis and a Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, CA. Jessica is a National Diplomate of Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine and Chinese Herbology through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). She is also a Diplomate of Acupuncture Orthopedics, a specialty certification held by fewer than 500 acupuncturists in the United States.
Jessica currently maintains a private acupuncture practice on the South Shore in Duxbury and in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood. The center was awarded Best Acupuncture Center by Boston Magazine. Areas of specialty include women's health, pregnancy, infertility, pediatrics, and sports medicine. If you are interested in learning about the benefits of acupuncture for fertility and IVF, please visit the acupuncture + fertility page. New patients can book online to schedule any acupuncture service including a complimentary consult. Jessica also serves as a health care consultant for a number of integrative medical institutes. Her clients include IVF and infertility centers, functional medicine offices, orthopedic facilities, concierge practices, and green spas. Please contact OMBE for more information about these services.
Prior to her consulting work, Jessica founded an integrative health center in Boston. The eco-friendly center was one of the first twenty-five companies certified as a Sustainable Business Leader in Boston. During its ten-year tenure, the center provided services including acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, naturopathy, nutritional counseling, personal training, Pilates, and yoga. Studio offerings included mom and baby programming, Mongan Method Hypnobirthing, natural childbirth education and the Holistic Moms Network. The center was the recipient of several awards, including Mayor Menino's Green Business Award, a multiple recipient of Boston Business Journal's Best Workplace, Boston Magazine's Best of Boston Award for Massage Therapy as well as Best Eco-Friendly Massage, Eco-Beauty Bar, Nutritionist, Personal Trainer, Pilates, and Workout.