Effects of Acupuncture

Effects of Acupuncture
By: Dr. Andy Rosenfarb, ND, L.Ac.

What is Acupuncture?

How does Acupuncture Work?

Is Acupuncture Safe?

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is part of the complete and comprehensive system of Chinese Medicine (also includes Chinese herbal medicine, Qigong, and Tui Na-massage). Acupuncture has emerged from over 5000 years (suggested) of empirical study and observation of the dynamics of Qi or “Vital Air.”

Acupuncture works by adjusting and regulating the Qi, which flows through your body’s fourteen main distribution vessels or “meridians.” Twelve of these vessels are internally connected with specific organs such as your Lung, Heart, Kidney, and Stomach. There are also eight other “Extra Vessels” throughout the body.

Millennia of trial and error, accompanied by meticulous observation allowed the ancient Chinese to accurately map out the locations these vessels. Each vessel has energy nodes, or “points” where the energy becomes more concentrated and can be easily accessed and stimulated. The hundreds of acupuncture points (along the vessels) each have a specific regulatory function within the body.

When the Qi becomes blocked and ceases to flow smoothly through your vessels, pain, illness, and dysfunction will manifest. Acupuncture needles are so thin that you can fit at least eight of them into the head of a hypodermic needle (see Figure). These hair-thin, acupuncture needles are inserted into acupuncture points, adjusting the flow of energy through the vessels of your body. By promoting Qi to flow through the congested meridians involved, the body can restore its proper function and maintain a healthy, balanced state.

The effects of acupuncture have shown to increase oxygen and blood flow, in order to speed up healing. Also, the hormonal system can be directly stimulated, which can aid in the repair of your body’s cells. The effectiveness of pain control is brought about by a release of your body’s natural pain killers & tranquilizers: endorphin, serotonin, and melatonin.

How does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture works by stimulating circulation to parts of the body where the Qi is congested (hyper-function) or where there is weakness (hypo-function). This action can restore healthy function, relieve pain, and strengthen immune function. The body can be seen as an orchestra, when even one instrument is playing out of tune, or not keeping up, it effects the sound of the whole. When all are playing together harmoniously, the production is a success. Our bodies are the same, all organs, glands, and major systems need to be working together in a harmonious fashion so as to maintain healthy function.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Acupuncture is safe and without any serious side effects, one of the reasons for its acceptance. The stainless steel needles themselves are pre-sterilized, and they are disposed of after each treatment.

Acupuncture has been used by millions of Americans and is recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA regulates the effects of acupuncture and the use of needles as medical devices, and rates them as "safe and effective."

The National Institutes of Health finished a two and one-half year study of acupuncture in November, 1977. Their Consensus Statement states that, "While it is often thought that there is substantial research evidence to support conventional medical practices; this is frequently not the case. This does not mean that these treatments are ineffective. The data in support of acupuncture are as strong as those for many accepted Western medical therapies. One of the advantages of acupuncture is that the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs, surgeries, or other accepted medical procedures used for the same conditions."

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