The above question pops up all the time, especially with clients who are new to acupuncture.
There’s now a lot of high-quality research, especially from the last decade or two, confirming that acupuncture affects multiple aspects of the body’s systems: the neurological system (nerves), the circulatory system (blood), the cellular system (stem cells in particular), and the mental/emotional state.
It’s important to note that none of this research is able to confirm the exact mechanism by which these effects are produced, simply that changes are taking place in response to stimuli.
Like the acupuncturists of millennia ago, none of these specific effects are things that we are aiming to produce – in fact, we’re not even thinking about them! Instead, we’re working on broader ideas of Qi (energy) and Blood and are trying to bring the body back into balance. Usually, we do this using the channel (meridian) system, which transverses the surface of the body and connects to the inside.
These principles of acupuncture, while constantly being informed and validated by modern science, are nevertheless essentially the same techniques that have been passed down since time immemorial.
In our field, a client can walk through the door with virtually any health condition, and we are expected to have something to offer to help them. As an example, in the last week, I have treated the following issues:
I draw great comfort and confidence from the fact that hundreds of thousands of practitioners, going back many centuries, have used this same skill-set to treat virtually every illness, injury and disease known to humanity. And the fact that Chinese Medicine has been explored, researched, and tested from so many different angles means that if one treatment doesn’t have the desired effects, then there is always a different path that can be taken.
While tradition can sometimes be unhelpful, or even counter-productive to modern lifestyles, I am grateful that so many have come before me and contributed to the wealth of knowledge I can draw upon to help my clients.