What is Acupuncture?
Updated: Jul 18, 2019
Let’s start this 5 part series off with the most obvious question!
What is acupuncture?
Well, it is an ancient healing system with records dating back to 1385, when they were formally written and described. Since then, it been continuously used around the world, the scope of it use has grown, and now it is heavily researched.
Modern research has helped grow the popularity and legitimacy of acupuncture. In fact, TCM practitioners are not the only ones who offer acupuncture anymore. You may now see physiotherapist, chiropractors, and even dentists practicing some small facets of the larger body of acupuncture scope.
Scientific research is even starting to apply concepts that have been well established in the scientific community to acupuncture. Thanks to physics, there has been a ton of recent literature on matter states, negative and positive charges and ultimately energy that binds atoms together, which has given validity to the concept of vital energy or Qi.(Don’t worry a whole post on this is coming up next).
Research on dermatomes and nervous system pressure points is helping us understand the concepts of the meridians as well.
The foundations of acupuncture are the meridians. Meridians are energetic lay lines or maps on the body that relate to organs and body systems. Each of the main meridians are named after the organs that run through or originate near, or their designated functions within TCM (Traditional Chinese medicine). These meridians can be manipulated with the insertion of our small acupuncture needles. There are many explanations of how this works. You can talk about how these points affect the Qi or energy of the body, you can talk about the nervous systems and how these points line up with systems such as dermatomes, or you can talk about the influence certain points have on nearby endocrine glands and therefore hormones.
TCM acupuncturist perform a variety of treatment modalities within the scope of acupuncture. There is fire cupping, guasha, and Moxibustion that can all be used in conjunction with needles.