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Today in most western cultures it is considered a "new alternative" medicine. In reality, Acupuncture is a medical treatment proven effective over thousands of years. The essence of Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine, painless needles (sometimes in conjunction with electrical stimulus), on the body's surface, influencing physiological functioning of the body.

Other vital components of Acupuncture include Moxibustion, which is treatment derived from burning specific herbs, and Acupressure, which is a non-invasive form of massage therapy. The traditional explanation of Acupuncture utilizes the concept of an energy force known as Qi (pronounced “Chee”). Qi is the essential energies of life, including its spiritual, emotional, and physical aspects. A person's health is influenced by the flow of Qi in the body; if the flow of Qi is insufficient, unbalanced, or interrupted, illness may occur.

Qi travels throughout the body along fourteen pairs of bisymmetric meridians. Acupuncture points are specific locations where the Meridians come to the surface of the skin where they are easily accessible by needling, Moxibustion, and Acupressure. The purpose behind Acupuncture is to facilitate the even circulation of Qi. Whether or not the traditional explanation of Acupuncture is relevant today, one thing is indisputable: ACUPUNCTURE WORKS.

The question arises, how does Acupuncture work? Scientists cannot agree on an answer to this, as many workings of the body remain a mystery. There are a few prevailing theories.

  1. By an unknown biochemical process, Acupuncture raises levels of triglycerides, specific hormones, prostaglandins, white blood counts, gamma globulins, opsonins, and overall anti-body levels. This is called the "Augmentation of Immunity" Theory.
  2. The "Endorphin" Theory states that Acupuncture stimulates the secretions of endorphins in the body (specifically Enkaphalins).
  3. The "Neurotransmitter" Theory states that certain neurotransmitter levels (such as Seratonin and Noradrenaline) are affected by Acupuncture.
  4. "Circulatory" Theory: this states that Acupuncture has the effect of constricting or dilating blood vessels. This may be caused by the body's release of Vasodilaters (such as Histamine), in response to Acupuncture.
  5. The "Gate Control" Theory relies on the fact that the perception of pain is controlled by a part of the nervous system that regulates the impulse. This part of the nervous system is called the "Gate.” If the gate is hit by too many impulses, it becomes desensitized, and it “closes.” This prevents some of the impulses from getting through. The first gates to close would be the ones that are the smallest. The nerve fibers that carry the impulses of pain are rather small nerve fibers called "C" fibers. These are the gates that close during Acupuncture. In the related "Motor Gate" Theory, some forms of paralysis can be overcome by Acupuncture. This is done by reopening a "stuck" gate, which is connected to an Anterior Horn cell. The gate, when closed by a disease, stops motor impulses from reaching muscles.




Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

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Woodbury, MN 55125

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