How does it work

How Does Acupuncture Work??

Hmmmmm...How does acupuncture work?...

Acupuncture, in a nutshell, is perceived by the body as a "micro" trauma - a teeny, tiny exposure of your nicely sealed off inner elements to an external, unwanted foreign object. As a response to this foreign invasion, what your body does is send its defense team (first responders, EMTs perhaps?) to the scene(s) of the incident. Then, before you can blink an eye, all of body's vital systems become involved, together they work to "fix" & attend to the problem at hand.

How about I parallel this idea to something more understandable; when you fall and scrape your knee, what happens? Well first you feel pain...that's your body saying "Alert! Alert! Something happened and our clean, closed surface has been broken!" Your body then kicks into gear its repair action-plan and before you know it a scab has developed over the once exposed surface. Finally, after a brief period of time, your scab falls off to reveal a newly repaired, intact, once again closed surface. See, your body DOES know how to fix itself.

So back to "How does acupuncture work?"...
Now that you have an understanding that in essence it stimulates a response from your vital systems, I will explain to you (in another nutshell) how it works systemically to balance your whole body. Think of your body as one GIANT highway circuit with many stop-lights. Over time, some of those stop-lights have turned red, halting and congesting the flow of traffic...If the congestion persists for too long (and just like an actual traffic-jam), anger and irritation erupts - presents itself as a disease. The response acupuncture treatments produce is like that of turning all the red lights green and releasing the congested/stagnant traffic so that proper flow can be re-established (kind of like an acupuncture induced systemic cleanse).

Want a more physiological answer? How about this - Needling the pressure points sends a message to our hypothalamus, located at the base of the brain near the pituitary gland. Though its size is small, don't let its size fool you because it is an extremely elaborate and very important part of our human brain. One of its most important functions is to link-up your nervous system with your endocrine system (with the help of its next door neighbor, your pituitary gland).

Q: So what happens to the message?

The message, once received by your hypothalamus, gets internalized and translated into a response that is sent back out through your body's autonomic nervous system - the very system that is responsible for fight or flight and rest & digest. This physiological feedback is how acupuncture is able to stimulate your body's natural ability to heal.

A lot of information on "How does Acupuncture Work?" That's only the beginning!, but to sum it all up I will say to you what I often say to my patients in my Loveland acupuncture practice; Our bodies are not faulty by design, so unless absolutely necessary (and I mean ABSOLUTELY), it doesn't need to be "fixed" it simply needs to be reminded of what it should be doing...

laziness will never lead to the pathway of health.


Other Theories Explaining Acupuncture

Take A Look At 3 Other Theories Explaining Acupuncture & How it Works:
1. “Endorphin” Theory:

Studies have indicated that acupuncture causes a release of endorphins, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for pain relief and the "runner's high" post run. On the other hand, other studies have made no correlation between endorphin release and acupuncture. Either way, this theory only explains how acupuncture treats conditions of pain...

2. “Gate Control” Theory:

Another theory the explains how acupuncture treats pain is the "Gate Control" idea. This particular thought was developed by Ronald Melzack and Patrick Wall back in the 60s. They argued that the central nervous system (spinal cord) has a neurological "gate" that can allow or block the transmission of pain sensation to the brain. But unlike an actual gate, this spinal cord's "gate" does not just open and close - either allowing or preventing entrance...instead it permits passage of based on the size of the nerve fiber sending the signal. Small fiber signals are permitted to pass, while large ones are not. This theory is how some explain the phenomenon of phantom pain, as well as chronic lasting pain. Again, like the "Endorphin" Theory, the "Gate Control" Theory also only touches on how acupuncture hand help with pain management.

3. “Nerve-Reflex” Theory:

The "Nerve-Reflex" Theory suggests that there is a close relationship between the peripheral and autonomic nervous system - connecting the skin to the internal organs. Basically what this theory is trying to convey is that if you were to have some sort of internal-organ disease, it would manifest somehow/somewhere on your flesh. Therefore when an acupuncturist sees these tangible, physical changes on your skin, they can treat it to treat the distressed organ.

This theory in particular may explain how acupuncture/pressure points were established in the first place...


(646) 504-7228

Susan Nissle, L.Ac.
Stone Lion Acupuncture

Huntington, NY 11743

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