Acupuncture is the insertion of very thin, sterile needles into specific points on the body to regulate Qi, the body’s energy, and blood flow. Points fall along with networks or “channels” that connect different organs and body systems.
For most of us, health is a state of feeling no pain, discomfort, or weakness. Health is a constant series of small shifts back and forth to maintain a sense of equilibrium. When the body moves out of balance, medical interventions must be chosen carefully, with the goal of turning the body into a balanced state.
In modern medicine, discomfort or pain is perceived as “not good,” and steps are taken to rectify the situation. Painkillers, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, antidepressants, or surgery are common approaches to alter symptoms, but they do not always work and sometimes new symptoms may arise from the use of those therapies.
As technology changes to treat illness, it also becomes more complex, creating an increasing need for specialization. In modern medicine, specialization requires the specialist to work within the borders of his understanding, without regard to the whole. The patient may have a sense of the interconnectedness of the whole, but the feeling is overridden by the expertise of the specialist, who is concerned with only their specialty and the one body part that they are concerned with.
Modern medicine is very good at understanding disease but does not give us the tools to understand health. It cannot offer clear ideas about health because it has no standard to go by. Acupuncturists’ view of health comes from an understanding developed in the third century B.C. These ideas have never become outdated despite technological advances. In ancient times, healers observed the small changes in the human body with the season, weather, climate, diet, exercise, and emotional shifts.
Acupuncture employs methods that are not injurious to the patient by attempting to harmonize the body’s natural functions and stimulate its innate ability to heal itself. These methods are not mystical or esoteric; they are based on a commonsense approach to diagnosis and treatment. Often we neglect our common sense when we are fearful and in pain, and we rush to take pills as a first choice of treatment. Taking drugs to cure one problem and cause another does not make much “sense,” but people do it every day. It is sensible, however, to see the body as an interconnected whole.