Acupuncture is an ancient form of healing dating back thousands of years. Back then, the Chinese identified that channels of energy run in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. These channels or pathways are referred to as meridians and they form a separate system in the body distinct from the nervous system, circulatory system or any other physical system we know of in Western medicine. According to Chinese medical theory, there is an unceasing flow of life energy, or Qi (pronounced “Chee”) within these meridians and when this energy flow is smooth and in balance, a person is healthy.
If the balance gets disturbed or the energy gets stuck, one will be in pain or feel ill. These energy meridians are often compared to rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the organs and tissues. The energy (or “Qi”) flowing in these meridians can be accessed through specific spots in the pathway called acupuncture points. It is here that the energy flow can be stimulated or regulated to restore balance. Acupuncture, then, is the insertion of ultra fine needles into these points on the body. This is similar to opening and closing switches in the body to alter the flow, frequency, and volume of energies to alleviate pain or promote healing in some organ system.
In Western medicine, it has been discovered that the needling of the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release endorphins which are the body’s own powerful pain reducers. But it also causes the release of other chemicals and hormones in the body, which improve energy levels, restore biochemical balance and stimulate the body’s natural healing potential. All of this promotes physical and emotional well being.
Electroacupuncture is a form of acupuncture in which a mild electric current (similar to that used with a TENS unit) is passed between pairs of acupuncture needles. Electroacupuncture is considered to be especially useful for conditions in which there is an accumulation of energy or blood, such as chronic pain syndromes. It is also effectively used for neurological conditions such as peripheral neuropathy, sciatica, and shingles.