Acupuncture is the most well known branch of Chinese Medicine, and is one of the world’s oldest systems of medicine. It has been practiced for over 3,000 years. Acupuncture traditions are based on a unique knowledge of the body. Its theories are at once complex and elegant.
Acupuncture is the manipulation of Qi (pronounced “chee”) or energy in your body. Qi runs in very specific, interconnected pathways, much like the network of blood vessels in our bodies. When we are ill or in pain, our Qi is either blocked or in some way dysfunctional. Acupuncture is one of the best ways to bring the body’s Qi back into balance.
Qi travels in pathways called meridians or channels. Along these channels are “acupoints”, places where the Qi is more accessible. It is here that very thin needles are placed to activate the energy along the channel’s path.
Each meridian flows into one of the body’s organs and is named after the organ through which it flows. There is a Lung meridian, a Spleen meridian, a Gallbladder meridian, and so on, one for each of our organs. This is why acupuncture can treat a variety of conditions such as common colds, gastrointestinal problems, and other illnesses. When the energy that flows into an organ is well balanced, that organ will function properly.
When the energy in a channel is unbalanced, it doesn’t mean there is a problem in the organ. The channel itself can be congested. For instance, the Gallbladder channel may be blocked, causing TMJ or sciatica, while the gallbladder itself is perfectly healthy.
In Chinese Medicine, the organs have more functions than they do in Western medicine. In Chinese Medical Theory, each organ has a spiritual, mental, emotional, as well as a physical job. This is why acupuncture can help with issues such as insomnia, stress, anxiety, and PMS. Often these problems are accompanied by physical discomfort. These can all be treated together in the same session. Some people even use acupuncture to help them with creativity and spiritual growth.
Because pain is caused when Qi becomes stuck in meridians, acupuncture is an effective way to deal with pain. By promoting a smooth flow of Qi in the channels, acupuncture can relieve back pain, headaches, sports injuries, repetitive strain issues, and numerous other types of pain. “Where there is free flow there is no pain” is an ancient Chinese adage.
Acupuncture often treats well those conditions that fall between the cracks of more conventional medicine. As early as 1979 the World Health Organization issued an extensive list of illnesses that may benefit from acupuncture.
Acupuncture is also exceptionally effective for stress-induced or stress-aggravated conditions.
In martial arts there are many traditions, among them t’ai chi, karate, tai kwan do, and kung fu. Within these disciplines there are further divisions of style depending on where or with whom the martial artist studied. Similarly, there are many styles of practice and numerous traditions of study within Chinese Medicine. The acupuncturists at Mystic River Acupuncture are trained in a variety of these traditions. We also offer specialized acupuncture, including auricular, smoking cessation, acupuncture for pregnancy, fertility, and IVF, trigger point release, facial rejuvenation, and chakra balancing.
World Health Organization List of Illnesses
Visit our Specialty Acupuncture page