People are always asking me – ‘exactly why does acupuncture work?’. The idea of pressing small needles into the body probably isn’t everybody’s idea of a good time, however we see wonderful results in the clinic and therefore we know it has an amazing impact on the body.
There are several theories as to why acupuncture is effective for such a massive range of illness’ and ailments. I see just how wonderful it is every day. I want to make sure that patients get the quickest and most effective results – free from nasty side effects or toxic chemicals that pharmaceutical products will cause. The fact is, it works – and works very well.
Most health professionals appreciate that acupuncture offers great results for pain relief and accept that by using acupuncture needles, we effectively interrupts the message sent to the brain, telling it that a particular muscle is aching or an area is compromised. In this instance, there will always be inflammation – and so when we disrupt this signal to the brain with acupuncture, several things happen. It allows the area to relax and increases blood and nutrient flow to the area so it can heal quickly. With this increase of blood flow, we see quick improvements as the body sets about fixing itself. So it isn’t necessarily the acupuncture fixing the body, but the body being able to do as it normally would, without reservation or interruption.
Of course, my clinical experience with acupuncture isn’t limited to pain relief. It facilitates great healing properties for all areas of the body for the same reason. It encourages blood flow to a particular body regions and organ systems. It gets that area ‘working.’ So if we apply this to fertility and the reproductive organs, we know that when we increase blood flow specifically to the pelvis, we get the body to ‘wake up’ in that specific region and the organs start working as they should or their ability to work slowly begins to increase. In cases of poor semen, this can be particularly useful – because a low motility count or high abnormalities are simply because the reproductive organs aren’t working as well as they should. Men are producing sub-standard sperm because their reproductive function is compromised. How does this happen? Diet, lifestyle and general living may lead to deterioration of quality sperm. We know by changing these habits, we can’t substantially improve sperm function BUT when we add acupuncture to the mix, we can specifically target the area that needs the most work. This can also work in the opposite direction where they may be too much activity in say the uterus or bowel. We can use acupuncture here to decrease the energy and activity in the relevant area by using different points – most commonly away from the area.
And finally, as a practitioner, my understanding on the human body from a Chinese Medicine perspective means that we will always treat by the relevant Chinese medical diagnosis – a very different outlook than western medicine diagnosis. Western medicine doesn’t allow for the same level of differentiation between the cause of a problem – a great example of this is period pain. Chinese medicine analyses the nature of the pain and determines which organs are contributing to the condition and will proceed to treat accordingly. This means that clinically, two women will present with period pain, but their treatment will differ greatly. It is with this knowledge that we will treat systematically with acupuncture to specifically target relevant organ systems. So where there is sharp stabbing period pain with a list of other associated symptoms including, PMS, possibly delayed menstruation – it’s treatment is very different to a woman who presents with burning hot period pain, thirst, headaches and constipation. You can see that using the same treatment for these two women would be unsuccessful as their conditions are vastly different.
When you combine this all together you have yourself a great all round treatment that takes everything into consideration – not separating the body into bits and pieces. Acupuncture is a well balanced treatment which doesn’t require the patient do anything but relax. The results are outstanding and fortunately we are seeing increasing evidence of its efficacy (not only in the clinic but through trials and research) as it makes its way into mainstream treatments accepted by medical specialists worldwide.