What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the medical procedure of stimulating sensitive points on the body with special needles and other methods to regulate the flow of energy within the body’s system for specific health results. It is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that has been practiced for thousands of years in the East to cure various illnesses, pains, and to proactively maintain good health throughout one’s life. It is a standard practice that is used by practitioners in the East in conjunction with Western medical methods.
Chronic pain is in the spotlight as one of the most common afflictions that affects millions of people around the world. People are always looking for relief from their discomfort that ranges from mild irritations to debilitating conditions, and many wish to find ways of relieving pain without having to use conventional drugs that may have unwanted side effects.
An acupuncturist focuses on relieving pain using natural and proven methods. Back pain, neck pain, joint pain, sciatica, arthritis, fibromyalgia, muscle aches, headaches and migraines are among the most commonly treated. Carpal tunnel syndrome, menstrual cramps, injury pain and dental pain can also be successfully relieved – practically all types of pain can be effectively relieved by acupuncture, and there is ongoing research to support it as a reliable anesthetic.
Although acupuncture is extremely effective in relieving pain, it also treats a wide range of other disorders such as skin problems, digestive disorders, respiratory disorders, hypertention, inflammation, asthma, allergies, just to name a few. It also supports weight loss programs, helps to quit smoking, and increases fertility in women.
What Is Traditional Chinese Medicine’s Philosophy On Health?
The foundation of acupuncture is based on the concept of Qi energy. Translated in English, Qi can be described as the “Universal Life Force” that flows throughout all things in nature. Eastern views on health is also based on the polarities of Yin and Yang, which are the opposing, yet complementary, forces that co-exist in nature.
In conjunction with Yin & Yang and Qi are the Five Elements. These five energies and their relationship among them have been observed over the millenniums and have been classified into five categories: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. Not to be taken in a literal sense, these elements are an ideological structure to explain natural phenomenon and their dynamics, including how health is regulated within the human body.
Acupuncture harmonizes Yin & Yang, Qi, and the Five Elements in the body to ensure that the body system is fully balanced.
How Does Acupuncture Work To Manage Pain?
Health is determined by how smoothly Qi flows in an ecosystem. If the flow of Qi is obstructed, by either being deficient or overly active, then disharmony occurs, and these patterns can be manifested in the human body.Controlling the flow of Qi is the foundation of acupuncture and its focus.
Qi energy flows through specific channels of your body called Meridian Lines, where bundles of nerve fibers accumulate. Each Meridian has its corresponding organ network that determines how harmoniously your body is working with your other organs, as well as with your environment.
Stimulating points along the Meridian, by insertion of small needles or other methods, tones deficiencies or excesses within your body system and restores it to its healthful and optimal function. It also triggers signals to your brain and the rest of your body to release bio-chemicals such as endorphins (your body’s own painkilling hormones) and serotonin to regulate pain and mood, along with an increase in blood flow to release tension in your muscles.
Pain is your body’s way of communicating disharmony and it is usually the result of a blockage in the natural flow of Qi energy along the Meridian Lines. It is a signal from the nervous system that something is wrong, and attention needs to be given to a deeper, underlying condition. An Acupuncturist determines where the pain is originating from and treats the corresponding imbalances accordingly.
For example, to treat the chronic headaches that usually result from liver imbalance, an acupuncturist would stimulate the flow of Qi along the liver Meridian to open up its blockage, while toning other organs that may indirectly be contributing to the imbalance. If you are experiencing poor digestion, jaundice, chronic headaches, low blood pressure and melancholy, it may be that heart is not being supplied with enough Qi energy. These blockages in the Meridians must also be opened through acupuncture.
Arthritis is an accumulation of heat and toxins that pool up in blood around the joints. Blood and Qi stagnate and chronic pain results until the circulation is restored. By increasing the circulation of blood and Qi by opening up the corresponding Meridian Lines, toxins are effectively eliminated, heat is cleared, pain is gone, and movement is restored in the joints.
Other Factors Influencing Health
Health also depends on how well your body is functioning with your environment, as your body is constantly adjusting to the stimuli of your external environment. This dynamic of this balance determines the how well your internal organs are working harmoniously together. When one or more of your organs are deficient or working excessively, then there is a chain-reaction, and disharmony and disease results.
If you live in a cold, damp basement, for example, your body will take on these same patterns of cold and damp qualities and try to adjust accordingly. The resulting symptoms would be along the lines of muscle aches, chest congestion or phlegm. Again, acupuncture would work to decongest your body’s Meridians to warm the cold and eliminate the damp.
After more than three thousand years of evolution and refinement, these ideas are finally reaching the West. Acupuncture maintains and restores harmony in the body whenever and wherever it is needed. Whether it be for back pain, stress, hormonal imbalance, nerve disorders, immune deficiencies or any other disease, acupuncture can help balance and strengthen the body to overcome it.
It is a very relaxing experience. Results are usually instant, and the treatment is minimally invasive and extremely precise. A typical visit to an acupuncture Toronto clinic may involve inserting anywhere from five to 25 needles along the Meridians and certain points and leaving them there for ten to thirty minutes. Follow up visits to for treatments are highly recommended for the best possible results. Anywhere from eight to twelve treatments or more can be necessary depending on the condition being treated.
TCM also supports acupuncture treatments with alternative herbal medicines that vitalize the body system that boosts your immune system and increases overall energy.
Many people in Toronto and North York turn to TCM and acupuncture as an alternative for answers when conventional Western medical methods fail. Many of these concepts are part of a totally different way of thinking, but they offer different avenues of treatment that can work along side Western medical treatments. TCM can help explain what Western medicine lacks, and by bridging the gap between the east and west, acupuncture makes for an extremely effective treatment for getting to the root of your pain.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call us in the Toronto / North York area at 416-788-3837.