Acupuncture: What's the Point?

Updated: Jun 29, 2020

This image was taken from Prevention Magazine a few years back. I like to keep in the office to depict the many ways in which acupuncture can help, but mostly to show patients that there are studies being done on the effectiveness of Acupuncture. Until very recently, Chinese medical research lacked double-blind randomized controlled trials (RCT) which is the "gold standard' for determining legitimate therapy in the Western world. Today, research has begun to perform evaluations of Chinese Medicine using modern scientific standards. The National Institute of Health's Consensus Development Conference on Acupuncture (1997) which called for the incorporation of acupuncture into some conventional settings. Researchers are using PET scans and special MRIs to measure physiological changes during treatment, activity of neurotransmitters, hormones, endorphins, and treatment success rates. Yet, despite hundreds of attempts to scientifically evaluate acupuncture, there is no definite explanation of exactly how and why acupuncture works. The science just hasn't caught up yet! Traditional Chinese Medicine is fundamentally so different than Western Medical philosophies that it goes against conventional understanding in these parts of the world.

But just because the scientific explanation may be lagging behind, don't count Acupuncture out! Traditional Chinese Medicine, of which acupuncture originates, has been used for thousands of years. It relies on the notion of Qi, also known as "Chi", and is the vital life energy that flows through the body much like blood flows through arteries. When Qi is stuck, stagnant, blocked, weakened, or deficient it creates disharmony within the body. A Chinese philosophy states, "When there is a free flow of Qi, there is no pain;Where there is no free flow of Qi, there is pain."

Acupuncture is an Eastern philosophy, ancient healing technique, and holistic approach to health and wellness. Treatment is often described as relaxing, calming, and comfortable and the risks associated with acupuncture treatments are minimal. The bottom line: What's the point in not giving it a try?

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