One of the world’s oldest healing practices, Acupuncture is an ancient branch of Chinese medicine which dates back over two thousand years. From its origin, the technique of acupuncture is known to improve overall general health.
Philosophy behind Acupuncture
This traditional medicine is based on the philosophy that yin and yang are the two forces of nature that describe the universe and the body. These forces are complementary opposite, representing night and day, cold and warmth, female and male, water and fire, etc. These forces should be in balance to stay healthy. If any one of the two forces becomes excessive or deficient then it may lead to illness.
There is an invisible energy called ‘qi’ or life force that flows through the specific meridians and pathways throughout the body.Sufficient and constant supply of energy flows via the meridian system through the body keeps it healthy. This flow of energy balances the yin and yang forces.
However, blockage or deficiencies in the flow of energy within a meridian can cause imbalance in the body, producing a ripple effect of physical symptoms. These symptoms can lead to pain, acute or chronic illness or lack of body functions.
The ancient art of acupuncture can release blocked ‘qi’, restoring the body’s natural energy flow and stimulate the functions. It evokes the natural healing response of the body through various physiological systems.
Techniques of Acupuncture
Your body possesses the healing potential and acupuncture helps to access it. Acupuncture involves simulating discrete anatomic sites known as acupuncture points or ‘acupoints’ to improve the body functions and self-healing process.
Most commonly, acupuncture involves the insertion of extremely fine, solid, and sterilized needles into the skin to stimulate specific acupuncture points. Over 350 acupoints have been identified in the human body where needles can be inserted to produce distinct physical effects. Heat, pressure, and electrical stimulation may positively enhance the effects further.
However, other techniques of stimulation involve manual massage, moxibustion- burning of therapeutic herbs near the skin, and application of herbal medicines.
Mechanisms of Enhancing Body’s Response
There are several mechanisms involved in acupuncture which enhance the body’s natural response and maintain the overall health. Let’s see them:
- Stimulates body’s built-in healing mechanism
This ancient Chinese medicine creates ‘micro-traumas’ that enhance the body’s ability to spontaneously heal tissue injuries through the activation of the immune, nervous, and endocrine systems. When your body heals the micro-traumas, it also treats any damaged tissue in the vicinity which might have been left untreated.
- Releases natural painkillers
When the needle is inserted at the specific acupoints, a signal is generated by the nervous system and is sent to the brain to release endorphins (morphine-like compounds) which are known to block the pain pathways in the brain. They are the body’s natural pain-killers.
Also, it triggers the part of your brain that releases Serotonin, a mood-enhancing neurotransmitter that regulates social behavior, appetite, digestion, sleep, and memory. This is the reason why acupuncture brings about a sense of calm and general well-being.
- Follows Purinergic Signaling
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the energy source that exists inside the human body cells. Whenever a cell is damaged through external injuries, such as cuts on skin or insertion of a small needle, ATP leaks out and a chemical reaction occurs which tends to convert it into an adenosine molecule. This molecule, in turn, signals the nervous that an injury has occurred which kicks in the immune system and the process of healing begins.
Acupuncture stimulates the body’s natural healing process and improves the overall well-being of the body. Attending specific acupoints releases blocked energy to restore the metabolic functions. The result of balanced energy flow includes sound sleep, better mood, reduced pain and an overall enhanced sense of wellness.