What is Acupuncture

Blogging is not something that I do a whole lot of. However, there is a lot of information people learn from reading blogs and it does pay to educate those interested in the topic at hand. Given that this is a new site and there is not a lot of content I will try to write a few times a month on general topics patients are interested in and on search queries in Google indicate might be worth while in writing about.

Acupuncture is a physical therapy that dates back thousands of years to around 100 B.C. Acupuncture has undergone much investigation into its effectiveness as a medical therapy in the last 50-60 years. As research seems to conclude inconclusive results as to the effectiveness of acupuncture as a medical therapy, patients and over 10 years in this field of medicine has shown otherwise. The thing is that there are many forms of alternative therapy that maintain a strong position in the medical community at large. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is one of the many forms of alternative/complementary therapy that is paving the way for individuals to better understand their bodies, understand what is strong, healthy and adequate. As well as understand with what is weak and dysfunctional. Western science is excellent at saving life’s, repairing separated tendons, bones and ligaments and performing major and corrective surgeries. Western medicine is necessary. Without western medicine we would still be battling Polo, Tuberculous, and Scarlet Fever. Western medicine saves countless lives every year and with advancements in technology the science behind surgery and restorative medicine continues to prolong life.

The issue comes in when people seek out western medicine to chronic, stubborn, psychological, and minor health problems that plague humanity in this day in age. Problems such as depression, anxiety, GERD, Type 2 diabetes, insomnia, digestive sensitives and food allergies as well as chronic pain and inflammation to name a few. These problems are mostly related to the modern day life style people choose to engage in. This type of life style requires a therapy other than pills and surgery to improve the potential outcomes. Many would be surprised to know that many acute and chronic health problems can be solved with simple and affordable solutions. The problem come when people begin to read articles on the internet and listen to Dr. OZ. These people end up trying everything under the sun to fix their problem. “Well if it worked for him, I’ll give it a try”. But what if it is not right for you? What if it makes it worse? What then?

In my opinion the answer lies in Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture and more often than not a good blood test. Blood testing aside, we will save that for another post….. Acupuncture provides a frame work to understand the body based on subtle changes in physiology. These subtle changes are detectable by anyone if you just know what to look for. The theory of the meridians is not entirely correct and accurate. Because of this acupuncture gets a “new age” “metaphysical” association. Without going into how the term “meridian” came about which was actually a French interpretation of the word for an “acupuncture channel”. Acupuncture theory is very rich and filled with ideas and practices that can improve the quality of life for anyone willing to learn and pay attention.

First off acupuncture is not about “energy”. Yes, Qi is a very real thing and is a corner point of traditional Chinese Medicine, but to begin to understand acupuncture please put the idea of energy aside for now. Acupuncture is a physical thing, it involves putting a physical object into the skin. The easiest way to understand how acupuncture works is through the nervous system. Now for anyone reading this that knows anything about acupuncture just bear with me… By understanding acupuncture form the nervous system we create a foundation and a frame work to further understand its actions. Acupuncture works to stimulate nerve endings in the skin, most notably A-delta and C fibers. These nerve endings relay signals to the brain which then stimulate the motor cortex sending motor nerve signals back to peripheral nerves. The areas on the skin called acupuncture points, are areas of highly dense neural tissue. These area have a much stronger effect on an area and function than other random areas do.

Secondly, acupuncture works as a stimulation to the body. It helps create a sensation that stimulates physiological symptoms in a local area. The human body is a vast network of neural responses, and physiological functions. What is to say that one or several of these systems can’t stop working or become stagnant in a range of possibilities? Acupuncture theory provides a way to monitor the health and function of the body in a very acute and attuned way. By understanding the subtle changes that can take place when a organ system, or body system begins to display dysfunction helps to better understand the problem at large. To understand where a problem is coming from it takes an acute sense and understanding of how each system works. By understanding each body system one can see the symptoms as they arise and correlate the symptoms to a particular body system. For example, excessive sweating of the hands during the afternoon. This symptom could indicate a weakened function in the heart or lungs.

Acupuncture is by far much more than the process of putting a needle in the body for healing. Acupuncture is a detailed process of cause and effect that must be reverse engineered for a symptom to no longer be expressed.

So how does this process work. Due to the fact that the acupuncture needle does not damage the tissue, but does enter the skin creates a chain of events often reserved for an injury or illness. By the tissue or body not being injured the body still floods the area with endorphins, anti-inflammatory mediators, sends neural signals to change the tome of skeletal and smooth muscle resulting in an increased flow of blood to the area. with time and enough treatment the body is stimulated to heal its self through the use of a very thin needle strategically places into the skin.

 

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Seth Drake L.Ac

Advocate for health and well-being. Life long practitioner of eastern health and longevity practices. Licensed acupuncturist and herbalist. Owner of Rocky Mountain Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.

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