Needles and herbs for your health

Needles and herbs for your health

Acupuncture and herbal medicine comprise a comprehensive health care system. This system was developed in china and has a history of over 2,500 years. It is a form of logical, rational thinking alien to the west because it is deeply rooted in a philosophy that has developed its own perception of body, health and disease.

Chinese medicine is very different from western medicine. The western physician starts with a symptom, then searches for the underlying mechanism, a precise cause for a specific disease. The treatment is focus on that particular disease. By contrast, Chinese physician directs his or her attention to the complete physiological and psychological individual. All relevant information, including the symptom as well as the patient’s other general characteristics, are gathered and woven together until it forms what Chinese medicine calls “pattern of disease”. This pattern of disharmony describes a situation of “imbalance” in a patient’s body. Instead of focus on treating a specific disease, Chinese medicine manages to balance the whole body system to treat the problem.

What Acupuncture involves

Acupuncture treatment involves the insertion of very thin needles into some specific point on the body. The needles are sterile and disposable.

Treatments last thirty to sixty minutes. The course of treatment depends upon each individual’s condition. Generally from one to six treatments for acute conditions and five to twenty treatments fro chronic disorders. Herbal medicine and acumassage may be used when indicated. Since Chinese medicine focus on the whole body, dietary, lifestyle habits and exercise will be discussed during the treatment.

How Acupuncture works

Acupuncture is based on Chinese theories of the flow of Qi (energy) and blood through a channel pathway which is similar to but not identical to the nervous and blood circulatory system. Diseases are developed when there is a disruption of harmonious flow of Qi and blood. Acupuncture can regulate the energy flow and restore the harmonious energetic balance of the body.

Although much of the mechanism of acupuncture remains unclear when interpreted by modern medical science, recent studies have shown that acupuncture can increase numerous naturally occurring substance in the body that facilitate healing and maintaining the body’s internal balance. For instance, recent studies by Mehmet Tugrul CabyoGlu et al. have indicated that acupuncture can increase endomorphin-1, beta-endorphin and serotonin levels in plasma and brain tissue.

Acupuncture also have immunomodulator effects on the immune system and lipolytic effects on metabolism. These effects explain why acupuncture is effective in treating pain related syndromes such as migraine, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis; gastrointestinal disorders such as disturbance at gastrointestinal motility and gastritis; psychological illness such as depression, anxiety and panic attack; rehabilitation from hemiplegia and obesity.

Another hypothesis is that acupuncture works by reducing pro-inflammatory markers or proteins in the body. Studies by Qi YC et al. suggest that to reduce inflammation and pain, acupuncture can decrease pro-inflammatory markers such as TNF-α, IL-6, CRP and NOS. Also a study by Luigi Manni et al. suggests using electro-acupuncture to stimulate peripheral sensors could improve brain nerve growth factor. This might explain the effectiveness of treating nerve damage disorders such as peripheral neuropathy, a condition that often cause numbness, burning and tingling sensation in the hands and feet.

The above examples provide explanations on how acupuncture works scientifically. As more research are being done on this field, hopefully in the near future, we can understand more of this ancient therapy using modern scientific explanations.

For further information, go to the following websites to search for acupuncture:

Web MD

Mayo Clinic

National Insttute of Health

Health Prep


There are some insurance policy that cover acupuncture. You should call to check with your insurance company for coverage.

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