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Acupuncture...What is that?!

Many people are familiar with the fact that Chinese medicine is an age old practice, dating over 5,000 years. What most people are not aware of is that Chinese medicine can be instantaneously effective. Acupuncture is a non-invasive method that treats your whole body system: physical, mental and emotional. It clears energetic blockages, improves circulation, and nourishes organs and tissues; thereby releasing the body from pain, trauma, and stress. In addition to reducing pain and symptoms of disease, one of the natural side effects of acupuncture is in increase in relaxation.

This ancient art was introduced into the US soon after President Nixon’s visit to China in 1972. Skip forward, almost 50 years, we now have standardized schools of study and licensure for acupuncturists in most of the United States. Millions of people are now using acupuncture regularly in order to address health issues, with most insurance companies covering acupuncture treatment. Still, integration of this powerful healing technique into mainstream western medicine has been painfully slow, with doctors recommending acupuncture only as a last resort in many cases.

Acupuncture is based on acupuncture theory which states that there are 12 main meridians that run through the body. These meridians, or energy pathways, connect with all of the various organs, organ systems, and fascia in the body; delivering Qi, body fluids, blood, and nutrients. These meridian systems act much like a freeway system. When one experiences pain or dis-ease in the body, it is said that the individual has stagnation along one or more of these meridians, impeding the flow of essential Qi and nutrients to organs and tissues. Acupuncture is a tool used to unblock this stagnation, allowing for the free flow of the building blocks that sustain life.

Acupuncture not only treats existing disease or imbalance in the body, but also prevents maladies from forming. Getting rid of pain and illness can be simple and easy when one views disease as merely an imbalance. The body's own healing system naturally wants to regain equilibrium or homeostasis. If supported in appropriate ways, health will return.

The research is gaining in the field of acupuncture, with many acupuncturists returning to school for doctorates and PHd’s in this field of study. For many years, empirical evidence of acupuncture was sufficient enough for people to want to try it out. In recent decades, acupuncture has been under scientific scrutiny for both its efficacy and mechanism, or how it actually works, with results that are both impressive and supportive of its many benefits.

Studies of this useful medicine have found it to be beneficial in the treatment of an array of different maladies. To name a few of acupuncture’s claim to fame; elimination of chronic and acute pain, aiding infertility ie. increasing odds of pregnancy, addiction, anxiety, asthma, allergies, menstrual irregularities, menopausal syndrome, ptsd, insomnia, and digestive issues, to name but a few.

One has only to study MRI results of acupuncture studies to become curious. Brain imaging has been used to correlate acupuncture points to areas in the brain. In 1998, Dr. Cho performed experiments in which he needled several points used to treat eye issues, while observing the area of the brain that governs vision (the visual cortex) to simultaneously light up on the MRI scan. These experiments help us to see a powerful mechanism at work here, as well as validating mind/body connection.

There are examples of thermal imaging that show marked reduction in inflammation when acupuncture is applied. Studies have also demonstrated that one of the mechanisms of acupuncture is to redirect blood flow from the limbic system to the prefrontal cortex, reducing a hyperactive limbic system, often seen in trauma victims. The research and results are exciting. But, nothing compares to your own personal experience of feeling better post acupuncture. I would encourage you to look into it yourself, whether it be reading articles of research in this field, performing your own experiments, or trying acupuncture for the first time. Be your own judge.

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