What is Acupuncture?
From its beginnings in China more than 2,500 years ago, acupuncture has been used to prevent, diagnose and treat disease and improve general health. Contrary to popular Western belief, an acupuncturist is not simply a person trained to insert very fine needles into specific body locations to alleviate pain. Rather, as you’ll find at Metapoint, acupuncture is one facet of a traditional Chinese medical protocol that includes acupuncture, Chinese herbal formulas, Asian bodywork (TuiNa), and physical movement through Tai Chi and Qigong.
The standard Western explanation for acupuncture's effectiveness is that it modifies the flow of "energy" (known as "qi") throughout the body. This is a common misconception about the definition of "qi" which actually has numerous meanings. What we mean by qi at Metapoint, aligned with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), are the processes that occur naturally in the body, such as breathing, blood flow, lymph return, nerve conduction, and the transformation of food in the body to nourishment, blood, and ultimately--energy.
Recent research suggests that acupuncture influences the activity of adenosine, an amino acid active in the skin after an injury, although this also is a theory, one of many as far as why acupuncture has an effect as a pain-reliever. In fact, much research in the West has focused on this pain-relieving effect, rather than acupuncture's traditional role of addressing a wide range of disorders, and the more subtle mechanisms that may be responsible for its overall benefits to health.
What conditions is acupuncture used for?
The benefits of acupuncture can extend to a wide variety of conditions, from emotional disorders (anxiety, depression) to digestive complaints (nausea, vomiting, irritable bowel syndrome). It can be beneficial for pain syndromes due to an injury or associated with chronic degenerative diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, as well as in the recovery of shingles. It can also be helpful in treating neurological problems like migraines or Parkinson's disease, or as a rehabilitation strategy for individuals who suffered a stroke. Respiratory conditions, including sinusitis and asthma have been relieved with acupuncture, as have many gynecologic disorders and infertility. Acupuncture has also proved beneficial for reducing fatigue and addictions, and for promoting overall well-being.
Studies in the U.S. indicate that acupuncture can help relieve chronic low back pain, dental pain, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia and symptoms of osteoarthritis. It has been shown to assist in the treatment of emotional pain syndromes such as post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as controlling chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. It has also demonstrated clinical success in achieving pregnancy when used in conjunction with in-vitro fertilization.