The Basic Principles Of Acupuncture-
The basis of Acupuncture is that the body has an energy force running throughout it. This energy force is known as Chi (also spelled Qi, and roughly pronounced "Chee"). The Chi consists of the spiritual, emotional, mental and the physical aspects of life. A person's health is influenced by the flow of Chi in the body, and is comprised of two parts, Yin and Yang. These are opposite forces, that when balanced, work together. Any upset in the balance will result in problems such as disruptions in nature, or disease in humans. Yin is associated with feminine attributes, which are: passive, dark, cold, moist, that which is the opposite of Yang. Yang is associated with masculine attributes which are: light, active, warm, dry, that which is the opposite of Yin.
The beauty of Yin and Yang is that nothing is completely one or the other. An example is perfectly shown in humans- A person is the combination of their mother (Yin) and father (Yang). They contain qualities of both. Whether or not you believe in this Taoist philosophy, one thing is indisputable: Acupuncture works.
If the flow of Chi in the body is insufficient, unbalanced or interrupted, Yin and Yang become unbalanced, and illness may occur. Chi travels throughout the body along "Meridians" or special pathways. The Meridians, (or Channels), are the same on both sides of the body (paired). There are fourteen main meridians running vertically up and down the surface of the body. Out of these, there are twelve organ Meridians in each half of the body (remember they are in pairs).
The acupuncture points are specific locations where the Meridians come to the surface of the skin, and are easily accessible by "needling," Moxibustion, and Acupressure. The connections between them ensure that there is an even circulation of Chi; a balance between Yin and Yang.
Energy constantly flows up and down these pathways. When pathways become obstructed, deficient, excessive, or just unbalanced, Yin and Yang are said to be thrown out of balance. This causes illness. Acupuncture is said to restore the balance.
How does Acupuncture work?
Scientists have no real answer to this; as you know many of the workings of the body are still a mystery. There are a few prevailing theories.
Augmentation of Immunity Theory-
Gate Control Theory-
There are many Acupuncturists in the U.S. today. Acupuncturists are licensed independently in most states while some states require you to be a Medical Doctor to practice Acupuncture. If you do decide to receive the therapeutic effects of Acupuncture, I not only recommend finding out their credentials, but make sure that they are compatible with your personality. Like a doctor or therapist, you should feel as though you have a good rapport and have trust with your Acupuncturist.
Evidence from neuroimaging studies Acupuncture appears to have distinct effects on cortical activity, as demonstrated by MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and PET (positron emission tomography).
The Cochrane Collaboration, a group of evidence-based medicine (EBM) reviewers, reviewed the use of P6 for nausea and vomiting, and found it to be effective for reducing post-operative nausea, but not vomiting.
One randomized controlled trial studied a classical TCM treatment for breech birth (i.e., buttocks-first orientation of the baby, which is much riskier than head-first). The study showed that moxibustion at acupoint BL 67 (aka UB 67), located at the tip of the fifth toe, was more effective than placebo at reducing the incidence of breech birth.