- What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the practice of puncturing the skin with needles at certain anatomical points in the body to relieve symptoms associated with many diseases. The anatomical points (acupuncture points) are thought to have certain electrical properties, which affect chemical neurotransmitters in the body.
According to theories of acupuncture, the human body has more than 400 acupuncture points connected via pathways, or meridians. These pathways create an energy flow (qi, pronounced “chee”) through the body that is responsible for overall health. Disruption of the energy flow can cause disease. Acupuncture may correct these imbalances when applied at acupuncture points and improve the flow of qi.
- What does acupuncture feel like?
Patients report different feelings associated with acupuncture but most feel minimal pain as the needle is inserted. Acupuncture makes some people report feeling energized by the treatment, while others say they feel relaxed.
- How does Acupuncture affect the body?
Many studies have documented acupuncture’s effects on the body, but none has fully explained how acupuncture works within the framework of western medicine. Researchers have proposed several processes to explain acupuncture’s effects, primarily on pain.
In general, acupuncture points are believed to stimulate the central nervous system, which, in turn, releases chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals either alter the experience of pain or release other chemicals that influence the body’s self-regulating systems. These biochemical changes may stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being.