Editor's note: Updated 8/3/2017 for clarity of content.
Acupuncture treatments and their ability to maintain well-being and health have a basis in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) refers to a wide-set of related medical practices that originated in China almost 2,000 years ago. By 111AD, The Yellow Emperor's Inner Canon, had already become an authoritative text in Chinese medicine, as it explained why people get sick and how to remedy it. According to the Canon, people get sick when Yin-Yang become unbalanced and that balancing it can be done through acupuncture. While these concepts may seem foreign to Western readers, the Canon explains this by establishing a view of the body.
Qi and Yin-Yang
The balance of Yin and Yang is a primary concern for the acupuncturist practitioner. Yin and Yang are the two complementary or opposite energies present in a state of balance within the body, as well as in everything in the universe. Yin refers to the light, passive, and the female aspects in nature. Yang refers to the dark, active, and the male aspects in nature. Within the human body, yin is associated with the lower portion of the body, while yang is associated with the upper body and back. Yin and yang are always in a state of flux and can become imbalanced.
Qi (also known as Chi) is the system of vital life energy that flows throughout the body. When qi flows freely through the meridians, the body is in a state of balance and good health. When qi is blocked, stagnated, or weakened the body can become prone to physical illness. Additionally, the individual may also experience emotional or mental issues. Acupuncture is the practice of inserting thin needles into specific anatomical points, called meridians, which are located along the surface of the skin. The meridians, which are invisible to the eye, are the channels through which qi flows. The needles unblock the flow of qi, which then rebalances the body's energy system. Rebalancing the flow of qi energy restores health and prevents disease development.
Stimulation of the merdians is necessary in order to restore health in the body through the balancing of qi. When acupuncture is used for therapeutic purposes, it is used to prevent illness. However, it also effective in the treatment of diseases. For example, acupuncture is used frequently for chronic pain conditions such as bursitis, arthritis, and migraines. It also effective for in the treatment of chronic pain management, because it generates stimuli that block existing pain signals from reaching the brain.
In the coming weeks, we will discuss various the different philosopies and concepts in Acupuncture, from both and Eastern and Western point of view. If you are intrested in learning more about acupuncture, please download the guide below.