Acupuncture is one of the oldest and most commonly used medical practices in the world. Acupuncture originated in China more than 2,500 years ago and records of Chinese herbal medicine go back thousands of years further.
According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) there are channels or meridians that flow through the body. These channels serve as pathways for the flow of Qi (energy). Disruption or blockage of the energy flow in the channels leads to disease. Solid, stainless steel, hair thin needles are inserted into specific acupuncture points that are located along the channels to improve the flow of Qi, thus restoring balance. By bringing balance back to the body, health is restored.
Research studies have shown that needling acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system, which causes the body to release chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals decrease sensations of pain and trigger the body's natural healing process. It works by increasing conduction of electric signals between neurons which prompts the production and release of endorphins, immune system cells, and the body’s natural opioids. Furthermore, acupuncture can affect areas of the brain such as the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in a positive way, which can induce positive changes in sleep, appetite, and temperature regulation.
For more information on treating specific conditions with acupuncture and herbs see our What Can Chinese Medicine Treat page.