Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles through the skin and tissues at specific anatomic sites called acupuncture points, or acupoints. These acupoints are related to anatomical structures involved in the condition being treated.
In Western Medicine, acupuncture is thought to stimulate the body to produce endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain killing chemicals. Also, by stimulating many of the systems in our body, such as the nervous system, immune system, cardiovascular system, and digestive system, acupuncture can decrease pain while improving sleep, digestion, and sense of well-being.
In traditional Chinese medicine, energy – called “qi” (pronounced “chee”) is thought to flow through the body along specific pathways called meridians. It is theorized that when a meridian becomes blocked, the disruption in flow can lead to pain, dysfunction, and illness. Acupuncture is believed to be able to clear blockages to stimulate the body’s natural healing response.
At its core, acupuncture is stimulating acupoints through the insertion of needles into the skin, however other stimulation techniques can include massage, heat (ex. moxibustion), cupping, electro-acupuncture, and the application of topical tinctures.