What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an effective form of medical care.  It has evolved into a complete holistic health care system.  Acupuncture is essentially Functional Medicine.  Practitioners of Chinese medicine have used acupuncture to help millions of people.  Many people see a complete reduction of symptoms while many more see a great reduction in health symptoms.

Acupuncture promotes natural healing. It can enhance the immune system and the body’s ability to heal.  It can support physical and emotional health and improve overall function and well-being. It is a safe, minimally painless and effective way to treat a wide variety of medical problems.

What is Qi?

At the core of this ancient medicine is the philosophy that Qi (pronounced “chee”), or vital energy, flows throughout the body.  Qi can be correlated to the word function.  Proper function allows for good blood flow or circulation.  Good circulation allows for the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the cells, tissues and organs.  This proper function and blood flow strengthens the body against illness, pain and disease. A person’s health is influenced by the quality of their body’s physiological function.

How does Qi move?

Qi flows through specific pathways called meridians. There are fourteen main meridians inside the body. The diagram to the left shows the meridian pathways in the body. Each of these is connected to specific organs and glands.

Meridian pathways are like rivers flowing inside the body. Where a river flows, it transports life-giving water that provides nourishment to the land, plants and people. Similarly, where meridian pathways flow, they bring life-giving Qi that provides nourishment to every cell, organ, gland, tissue and muscle in the body.

How is Qi disrupted?

An obstruction to the flow of Qi is like a dam. When Qi becomes backed up in one part of the body, the flow or function becomes restricted in other parts. This blockage of the flow of Qi can be detrimental to a person’s health, cutting off vital nourishment to the body, organs and glands.

Physical and emotional trauma, stress, lack of exercise, overexertion, seasonal changes, poor diet, accidents, or excessive activity are among the many things that can influence the quality, quantity and balance of Qi.

Normally, when a blockage or imbalance occurs, the body easily bounces back.  However, when this disruption is prolonged or excessive, or if the body is in a weakened state, illness, pain, or disease can set in.

Blockage of the flow of Qi can be detrimental to a person’s health and leads to various signs and symptoms or health concerns.

What does an acupuncturist do?

During the initial exam a full health history is taken. Questions are asked regarding health, symptoms and lifestyle. An appropriate physical exam is conducted, including pulse and tongue diagnosis.

Gathering this information enables the practitioner to effectively diagnose health patterns.  The pulse and tongue diagnosis and symptoms allow the practitioner to know where qi or function has been disrupted in the body. The practitioner can then create a well-structured treatment plan.

Once the imbalances of Qi or function are detected, an acupuncturist will place fine, sterile needles at specific acupoints along meridian pathways. This safe and almost painless insertion of the needles can unblock the obstruction and balance Qi where it has become unbalanced. Once this is done, Qi can freely circulate throughout the body, providing adequate nourishment to cells, organs, glands, tissues and muscles. This can eliminate pain and restore balance and harmony, as well as the body’s ability to heal itself—ultimately leading to optimal health and well-being.

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are safe, effective and drug-free therapies that can help address a wide variety of common ailments and problems.