Acupuncture Basics

Acupuncture Basics

  • Explore the difference between Eastern and Western Medicine
  • Modern Physics may explain Chinese Acupuncture Meridian Theory
  • Acupuncture supports the whole body

Alaska Center for Acupuncture
Acupuncture Basics

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Acupuncture Basics

When learning about acupuncture it’s important to make a distinction between how the body is viewed in Eastern vs. Western traditions of medicine. Western medical science views the body as a machine made up of parts. Eastern medical science views the body as an intricate ecosystem, in which no part can be considered in isolation from the whole. The term, “Holistic” is used to describe Eastern medicine and the term “Materialistic” is often used to describe Western medicine.

Modern Western acupuncture theory is based on the belief that acupoint stimulation creates positive changes in the body’s biochemistry or bio-electric states that promote healing. Based on this idea, researchers believe that the wide range of healing benefits observed in clinical studies can be explained purely on the basis of mechanical or “materialistic” changes in a patients blood chemistry or nerve function.

And while these observations offer some clues as to how the body responds to treatment, they do not explain how such long term benefits can result from fleeting chemical or bioelectric changes in the patient. To understand this more deeply it’s necessary to investigate the holistic view of the human body offered by Eastern medicine.

Eastern scientific theory for how acupuncture works is premised upon the concept of Qi (pronounced Chee), which loosely translates as energy, life force, or function. The main point when trying to grasp the concept of Qi is to consider the possibility that there is an immaterial level of reality that Western science cannot quantify or categorize.

Chinese acupuncture theory suggests that many of our physical and emotional problems begin at a level of function that is more subtle than our blood chemistry or organ function. Quantum physics has come to a very similar understanding of the material world and the human body by proving that when we break down any material object into its smallest components, it is reduced to pure energy.

So, many of these ancient Eastern cultures have long understood what Western science is finally beginning to accept. Our bodies, while seemingly solid, are actually energetic configurations that are constantly changing. Acupuncture is premised upon this understanding.

The point of treatment is to manipulate the flow of Qi within our bodies in different ways to induce a therapeutic effect. By working on the energetic level, the physical or material level can be directly affected. In fact, according to acupuncture theory, many forms of imbalance or disease cannot be fully healed simply by intervening on the material level. The underlying energetic component has to be addressed in order to treat the root cause of the problem.

Now, according to acupuncture theory, the Qi in our bodies is said to pool and gather at specific locations that are spread out from head to toe. The specific locations where Qi gathers are called acupoints, or acupuncture points. These are typically the places where acupuncture needles are inserted to induce various therapeutic effects. There are approximately 365 basic acupoints on the human body. These numerous points are located on acupuncture meridians, which are channels of Qi that flow throughout the body.

The meridians correspond to major internal organs. The 12 major meridians that run through the body are as follows: Lung, Large Intestine, Spleen, Stomach, Bladder, Kidney, Heart, Small Intestine, San Jiao, Pericardium, Gall Bladder, and Liver.

There are numerous acupoints on each of these 12 meridians. For instance, the Lung meridian has 11 acupoints while the Bladder Meridian has 67 acupoints. Each of these 365 points have specific functions and therapeutic effects associated with them that help the acupuncturist support each patient with highly individualized treatment and care.

The meridians travel through specific regions of the body and they have defined origins and end points. Acupuncturists will insert tiny needles into a number of the acupuncture points on the meridians that are most in need of balancing. The intention is always to treat the root imbalance and to help the body restore function and vitality at a systemic level.

To read case studies or to learn more about treatment and how acupuncture can help you: Click here to download our FREE acupuncture E-book.

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