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How Does it Work?

Far too often in the medical professions, a patient is told after extensive examination, "There is nothing wrong," "It is all in your head," or "Sorry, you'll have to learn to live with it." The examining doctor unable to find the cause of the problem has little else to tell the patient. Fortunately, many physicians are now referring their patients for Acupuncture.

The human body's energy flow courses over 12 meridians or channels that are normally well balanced. If a disruption of energy flow exists, it can alter the entire system, producing pain or symptoms in the body.

If we were to compare a 175 pound man on one end of a seesaw and a 47 pound child on the other end, it becomes obvious the seesaw would be "broken" due to the fact the heavier person would be sitting on the ground and lighter would be dangling in the air. Even though the seesaw is producing a symptom of being broken-extensive examination would not reveal anything wrong with the seesaw. The obvious answer is in the balance. Correction of the balance corrects the problem.

This is Acupuncture's goal-to restore normalcy to the body's energy balance by utilizing a combination of Acupoints located on the 12 meridians. This is accomplished by a variety of means, the needle is just one.

The effects of acupuncture are complex and multifold. Research suggests that the needling process may produce a variety of effects in the body and the brain. The most basic explanation of acupuncture starts with the theory that the human body is bioelectric. For example, we are made of electrons, protons, and neutrons and our nervous systems use electrical signals to affect physiological changes in our bodies. Electrolytes maintain the proper balance of ions in our cells, which affects several mechanisms in our bodies. In fact, muscle tissue and nervous tissue are considered electrical tissue.

Western scientists have found evidence that acupuncture points are strategic conductors of electromagnetic signals. Acupuncture is the insertion of fine, solid, medical-grade stainless steel needles into the skin along specific meridians of electromagnetic energy in the body. Stimulating points along these pathways through acupuncture enables electromagnetic signals to be relayed at a greater rate than under normal conditions. The acupuncture needle is made up of stainless steel; metal is an efficient conductor of electricity. Since the nervous system controls all of our bodily functions, acupuncture can affect all of the systems of the body by sending electrical signals to the nervous system.

One specific mechanism that acupuncture employs is the stimulation of the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), to release chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These signals may start the flow of pain-killing biochemicals, such as endorphins, our body’s endogenous opioids, thereby reducing pain. In fact, a study using images of the brain confirmed that acupuncture increases our pain threshold, which may explain why it produces long-term pain relief.

Biochemicals can also cause the release of other chemicals, such as the neurotransmitters and neurohormones that influence the body's self-regulating and self-healing systems. This is how acupuncture may affect involuntary body functions such as white blood cell activity (responsible for our immune function), cholesterol and triglyceride levels, body temperature, circulation and blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.