Acupuncture and Qi
Acupuncture is an ancient, powerful system that restores health and corrects imbalances by using rail-thin, sterile filiform needles applied to specific points on the body. You may perhaps be wondering, ´how on earth are needles even gonna help me heal?´. Read on, because the underlying mechanism is truly fascinating...
Imagine an electrical wire being activated by a metal conductor; when the needle contacts a certain acupuncture point, it ´jump-starts´ this area, facilitating the flow of Qi (pronounced ´chee´) through the body. Qi is most often described as our ´life force´, or ´energy´.
Contrary to what some may imagine, Qi isn't some mystical vortex of energy, whirling around in our body. Through my own professional experience, I´ve come to find that Qi behaves more aptly as an electrical current - you can consider it as our ´electrical vitality´, if you will.
Where Qi goes, electrical energy flows. It´s this electrical current that maintains your body´s equilibrium. When the body experiences an imbalance, this current, Qi, goes a little ´haywire´. An imbalance indicates that your body and mind could use a boost.
That's where acupuncture comes in. Acupuncture moves Qi throughout the body, helping it to repair itself. Healing begins and symptoms disappear of their own accord.
Still find this concept kinda on the ´woo-woo´ side? You wouldn't be the first. If you're a little skeptical, then it might surprise you to learn that acupuncture actually works on a very tangible, physical level in the body.
In fact, there's a groundbreaking field that provides a solid, evidence-based explanation behind acupuncture: neuropuncture.
Established by Michael Corradino, neuropuncture is the science of acupuncture and neurophysiology.
Whereas Asian medicine practitioners describe acupuncture as a mechanism that modulates, regulates and rehabilitates the body back to health, neuropuncture takes this a step further: acupuncture modulates, regulates and rehabilitates the central nervous system back to health.
So how does neuropuncture work? Let’s say an acupuncturist needles an area on your forearm. Here, the needle triggers neurological tissue located in the dermal and epidermal layers beneath your skin. These nerve fibres send electrical signals to the corresponding spinal segment of the spinal cord. These signals then relay information to relevant neuroreceptors in the brain. These neuroreceptors then stimulate the release of neuropeptides - found in the brain and body - that in turn modulate the central nervous system.
Keep in mind that nerve fibres weave throughout the body and also innervate the organs. When an acupuncturist is treating an organ considered to be imbalanced, they will choose specific acupuncture points that ultimately transmit electrical signals to the correct nerve fibres innervated with that particular organ. These signals modulate, regulate and rehabilitate the organ, restoring it to a balanced state.
Neuropuncture is highly relevant to the treatment of pain, internal medicine, diabetes, carpal tunnel syndrome, and sciatica. It also regulates psychological and emotional burnout, anxiety, depression or other issues. In fact, neuropuncture has been clinically shown to help the central nervous system regulate the neurotransmitters associated with feeling balanced, calm and good overall.
What Sets Acupuncture Apart?
The beauty of this medicine is that its does not define you by your physical condition; you are viewed as a whole, dynamic person. Acupuncture is distinguished by the unique patient-practitioner relationship. You may be surprised to learn that a Western medical diagnosis is actually of little importance to the practitioner when forming an assessment. In fact, two people with an identically named disease may be treated in a different way according to their particular pattern of symptoms and imbalances.
When it comes to my own practice, I formulate a treatment plan after performing a detailed assessment. This involves recording details of your medical and background history, assessing your pulse and developing a holistic overview of any pain or discomfort you may be experiencing.
Acupuncture points are sometimes chosen with the use of moxibustion (an herbal heating method), heating lamps, massage, and cupping (a technique that removes stagnation by the application of cups that create a suction effect). Laser therapy, ear therapy, and exercise may also be applied to improve energy flow and restore the body’s own self-healing powers.