How Does Acupuncture Work? Basic Acupuncture Principles

Acupuncture is the traditional Chinese methodology of the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body to relieve various ailments. There is a significant amount of skepticism about practice of acupuncture, which stems principally from a lack of knowledge and understanding about how does acupuncture work.

how does acupuncture workTraditional Chinese medicine recognizes the concept of Qi, which is the body’s life force or vital energy which keeps the body functioning optimally.

The qi circulates through the body by way of channels or meridians, and when the qi or the flow of energy is blocked for any reason, this result in disease and debility.

The simple answer to the question how does acupuncture work, is that it works by freeing up the qi or the channels of energy in the body by restoring the Yin and Yang balance in the body, to restore it to health and wellbeing.

So how does acupuncture work to restore the body to health and cure varied problems such as chronic pain, asthma, osteoarthritis, nausea, morning sickness, infertility, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome  and numerous other ailments? Acupuncture works based on certain basic principles:

1. To understand the functioning of acupuncture the concept of qi is vital to understand. Qi flows through the body and through all of nature and life around us. As and when this life force is interrupted, or blocked, abnormalities, disease and infirmities start to manifest within the body.

2. Another vital aspect of understanding the way that acupuncture works is to understand the concept of meridians. These are specific pathways through the body, which are known as the ‘Meridians’ which regulate the flow of qi in the body. It is blockages in these meridians that acupuncture seeks to remove by puncturing specific points on the meridians.

3. To determine how acupuncture works, the specific acupuncture points within their pathways or meridians are identified – using very fine needles, these acupuncture points are then punctured in order to restore the flow of qui or the energy force.

4. The concept of yin and yang is that everything in nature is balanced, that light is counterbalanced by darkness, poverty by richness, health by illness and so on. So when there is a disturbance of this yin and yang balance in the body, it is required to be restored.

And as yin and yang are in constant flux, as winter will inexorably follow summer and as spring will follow winter, changes and disharmony will arise, which will need to be restored to a healthy balance.

5. To determine how does acupuncture work, certain other concepts and balances are also considered – for example, location of the disharmony; whether located in the interior or the exterior will determine the source of the disharmony which will reveal why a given chronic or acute condition exists in the first place.

6. Is the problem caused by excess or by deficiency; hot or cold? The answer to these questions will also determine how does acupuncture work for a given condition.


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  1. Neil Butterfield says:

    Does acupuncture hurt?