An ancient system of healing, the many benefits of acupuncture help restore and maintain health and well-being
If you’re new to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and holistic healing to treat what ails you, acupuncture might seem a rather frightening alternative. Really, how could poking needles in your skin possibly help you feel better? The treatment is more likely to hurt than actually help, right?
We understand why you might be skeptical. But, let us assure you that it’s not the painful, prickly procedure you might imagine. Practitioners and many recipients swear by acupuncture. It’s often declared a “miracle” – a treatment for everything from anxiety and depression to sciatica to menstrual cramps and simply enhancing quality of life.
Once you get past the needles, we want you to know that the benefits of acupuncture can’t be overstated. And it’s worth a try!
Acupuncture – the history
The founding of acupuncture has historically been credited to the Chinese Emperor Huangdi (credited, too, with the invention of Chinese written language and agriculture) in 2500 BC.
But, the discovery of acupuncture likely predated Emperor Huangdi and happened sometime from 5000 BC to 6000 BC during the Neolithic Period.
Acupuncture – the philosophy
Studied and practiced for somewhere between 2500 and 5000 years, acupuncture isn’t necessarily based on medicine and science. The ancient Chinese philosophy behind the practices is founded on the belief that the human body was filled with and animated by an invisible life-giving force or vital energy which they called ‘qi’ (pronounced ‘chee’).
If the qi was unable to flow, or flowing improperly (deficient or blocked), it resulted in sickness. Rather, when the qi could flow freely and to all the right places, the individual could experience good health, both mental and physical.
And while you might not be familiar with the term, qi, it’s not that far on the fringe of our modern day thinking. It’s really about the natural, healthy inner working of your body. We all know that if we’re under excess stress or anxiety we can be at greater risk of illness. However, when we’re feeling relaxed our bodies tend to reflect a better sense of health and wellbeing.
It’s been well-documented that mood and mental health influence our physical health. In answer, the benefits of acupuncture includes helping to achieve a greater sense of balance or flow, qi, which helps with enhanced overall wellbeing.
Acupuncture points are believed to stimulate the central nervous system. This, in turn, releases chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These biochemical changes may stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being.
What is acupuncture?
Part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture is an ancient healing practice used to help maintain and restore better health and well-being. It’s the technique of inserting hair-thin, solid, metal needles to penetrate the skin, activated through very gentle and specific movements of the practitioner’s hands.
Despite how it may appear, acupuncture is only minimally invasive and stimulates nerve-intensive areas of the surface of the skin to influence the activity of tissue, glands, organs, and a variety of bodily functions.
Practitioners believe that there are more than 2,000 acupuncture points connected by pathways or meridians throughout the human body. These pathways create an energy flow, the qi, responsible for overall health. Administering acupuncture to certain specific points along the pathways aims to improve the flow of qi, resulting in improved health.
Each needle produces a tiny injury at the site of insertion. There’s almost no discomfort, it’s enough to alert the body to respond. The body’s response stimulates the immune system and promotes circulation, pain modulation, and healing.
The needle is inserted to a point intended to produce a sensation of ache or pressure.
Most people feel minimal, if any, pain as the needle is inserted and for the duration of the treatment.
Some individuals say acupuncture makes them feel energized. Others claim it helps them feel relaxed.
Benefits of acupuncture
There are various studies to show that acupuncture is effective for treating many different conditions. Acupuncture stimulates the central nervous system. This stimulation releases chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. The result is biochemical changes that help to activate the natural healing capabilities of the body and promote physical and emotional well-being.
Acupuncture treatment is often used to provide relief for issues of chronic pain, such as arthritis or low back pain. Studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States studies have identified that acupuncture is an effective treatment on its own or along with conventional therapies to treat the following conditions:
- Myofascial pain
- Low back pain
- Muscle pain and weakness
- Nausea associated with surgical anesthesia and cancer chemotherapy
- Post-operative pain
- Menstrual cramps
- Tennis elbow
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Headaches and migraines
- Stroke rehabilitation
- Parkinson’s Disease
KCCIHS Chinese Medicine Student Clinic
The KCCIHS Chinese Medicine Student Clinic is staffed by students in their final year of study in the Doctor of TCM, TCM Practitioner, Acupuncturist or TCM Herbalist programs.
All students practice under the supervision of a qualified TCM Practitioner or Doctor. In Summer Semester, it is run by our 4th and 5th year TCM students.
If you’re interested in acupuncture treatment, we offer sessions conducted by our students – and at a great rate! Find out more!
Are you interested in becoming a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine? CONTACT US to find out more about our programs!