Acupuncture is actually part of Chinese Medicine which is a complete system in it of itself. Chinese Medicine is much like Functional Medicine in that is looks at the whole person, their choices, and underlying patterns.
The World Health Organization states that acupuncture itself has been proven effective in the treatment of over 40 health conditions- including in the treatment of mental/ emotional, musculoskeletal, reproductive, genitourinary, neurological, respiratory, gastrointestinal, digestive, endocrine disorders, addiction, pain management and more.
Acupuncture has been proven time and time again to optimize blood flow, decrease inflammation, improve immunity and reduce pain.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), many studies in both animals and humans have demonstrated that acupuncture can cause multiple physiological responses, both locally at the site of insertion and at a distance through sensory neurons to structures within the central nervous system. Acupuncture points are areas of electrical sensitivity that have been clinically effective in the treatment of specific health conditions. This response leads to the activation of pathways that affect the brain and all systems in the periphery.
Acupuncture may also activate the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, which results in a wide range of systemic effects. One of the most important functions of the hypothalamus is to link the nervous system to the endocrine system via the pituitary gland.
The hypothalamus also controls body temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue, and circadian cycles. The pituitary gland, called the ‘master’ gland of the endocrine system, controls the functions of other endocrine glands and produces certain hormones like growth hormone, TSH to stimulate to the thyroid gland, and ACTH to stimulate the adrenal glands.
From an eastern perspective, acupuncture moves and balances qi, which restores proper function and health. Acupuncture treatments are cumulative, where the benefits of each treatment build upon the previous one. Over time, the body’s immune system and all other systems improve their function and ability to work harmoniously.
The foundation of Oriental medicine is that Qi (pronounced chee) flows through the body through channels known as meridians that connect and influence all of our major organs. A harmonious balance, or homeostasis, is maintained in each system and organ if Qi is abundant and flowing freely. Qi is defined as the ‘life force’ or ‘vital substance’ or ‘oxygen’ that controls the energy and function of all living beings. According to Chinese medical theory, illness arises when the flow of Qi becomes unbalanced or is blocked.