Acupuncture is an ancient practice in which very fine needles are inserted into the skin at strategic points on the body to relieve pain and treat disease. The Chinese developed acupuncture over 2,500 years ago in accordance with the theory that energy flows through the channels between the surface of the body and internal organs.
Chinese medicine maintains that more than 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body connect 12 main and eight secondary “meridians” or channels. Pain and disease are the result of these channels becoming blocked. By placing needles along the effected meridian pathways, healthy energy can be restored.
Western medicine’s view is that the placement of acupuncture needles at specific pain points releases endorphins and opiods, the body’s natural pain killers, well as neurotransmitters and neurohormones in the brain. As a result, pain is relieved, and balance is restored in the body.
According to the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, there is also evidence that stimulating acupuncture points enables electromagnetic signals to be relayed at a greater rate than under normal conditions. This may increase the flow of healing or pain-killing natural chemicals to injured areas, increasing the body’s ability to heal itself.
When pain is relieved, patients feel a greater sense of well-being overall, physically and emotionally. As a result, they may heal faster.