Acupuncture is more than using needles to treat pain, as we often think in the West. It is a fully balanced health protocol that seeks to balance all yin and yang energy flows in the body. Since its appearance in China more than 2500 years ago, acupuncture has been used traditionally to prevent and treat disease, but also to improve general health. Tiny needles are placed at specific points where the energy or chi flow can be influenced. Sometimes, an acupuncturist will also use heat (see moxibustion) or electrical stimulation (see electro acupuncture).
How does acupuncture work?
Clinical studies have proved and documented the effects of acupuncture, but have been unable to fully explain them. Modern biochemical research has demonstrated that acupuncture points are electrically and anatomically different from the other body zones. They are organized according to a system of meridians, or lines on the body. Stimulation of these specific points through acupuncture activates the nervous system to produce biochemical substances, such as endorphins and immune cells in specific parts of the body. Moreover, studies have shown that acupuncture influences the brain’s biochemistry by producing neurotransmitters and neurohormones. The parts of our central nervous system responsible for stimulation of the senses and involuntary body functions react to this by, for example, adjusting blood pressure, blood circulation and body temperature.
Which symptoms acupuncture can treat?
Acupuncture aims to treat not just particular symptoms, but the person as a whole. It is a holistic approach that aims to restore balance between the physical, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of the individual. This makes acupuncture very useful as preventive medicine.
However, acupuncture can also be used to cure physiological conditions, as it works on the hormonal system, immune system and central nervous system. That is why acupuncture can treat a wide range of health complaints, such as digestion problems, gynecological complaints, mobility difficulties, allergies and migraines, to name just a few. Acupuncture can also help deal with stress and psychological complaints, such as anxiety attacks or depression.
Chronic pain, such as neck pain, frozen shoulder, stomach pain or cramps, and knee joint pain are often treated here in the West with anti-inflammatory drugs and cold packs, but the effects are not significant and often only temporary. Anti-inflammatory drugs have negative side effects for the stomach and cold packs can cause dermatitis. This is a weakness of Western medicine. Acupuncture is therefore to be preferred for these kinds of conditions.
It is effective for symptoms such as high blood pressure, insomnia, stress, burn-out, diarrhoea, stomach complaints and the consequences of brain infarcts.
Acupuncture helps to activate the immune system and to produce anti-stress hormones, such as oxytocin. It is also often used in support of palliative care for cancer patients to ease pain and treat nausea.
Here is a brief video: