How Does Acupuncture Work
The question is not if acupuncture works but how does it work. To better understand acupuncture's role in treating disease let's first look at where its use came from. From its inception, the use of acupuncture has been based upon the theories of early Chinese scholars and physicians. Chinese philosophy at the time of acupuncture's development took on a holistic view of the universe. This whole-systems philosophy viewed human's as having a direct and intimate relationship with their environment and contradicts the notion that we are all just separate parts divided amongst ourselves. They believed that by distancing ourselves from this holistic reality would lead us to great harm and disease.
It is with this perspective that Chinese doctors embraced a whole systems approach of the human body when treating diseased patients. They viewed that both mind and body are not separate entities but part of the same intelligence. Therefore, in resolving even physical issues it was important to have a strong emotional center. They used acupuncture as a tool to unite the mind-body into one. Acupuncture was said to increase circulation of blood and strengthen the life force, or Qi.
Qi is a very important concept in Chinese Medicine and is roughly translated as "energy" or "life force". Having deficient Qi might be likened to our biomedical understanding of a weakened immune system or poor circulation. At it's very core acupuncture and Chinese Medicine focuses on strengthening and connecting the human body and all of it's organ systems to bring the body back into balance and out of a state of disease.
The Modern View Of Balance - The Stress Response
The Stress Response, or fight-or-flight is your bodies natural defense mechanism to stress. Imagine you are in the jungle and you hear movement behind you. You stop still from fright and your heart begins to pound. As you turn your head to orientate your eyes and ears to the sound you see the undergrowth trampled as you hear an animal pounding towards you – then you hear the lions roar.
At times like this you would want every muscle in your body to work to the peak of its ability – and your brain to be super-alert. Evolution has obliged, and given us the stress response. In today's modern world it isn't the lion that after you, but the many stresses present from our daily lives. Past traumatic experiences both physical and emotional can all attribute to activating this stress response system. What started out as a natural defense mechanism now inhibits you on a daily basis. Putting energy into digesting your lunch, optimizing your immune system or ensuring you are fertile all become rather unimportant in chronic stressful situations.
By decreasing the effects of stress on your body with acupuncture and holistic treatments you are rebalancing and integrating your body back to it's own healthy nature.