Alternative Medicine: Acupuncture can help with physical, mental health
When I propose acupuncture as a treatment, people automatically think of using needles to puncture the skin to reduce pain. While acupuncture is certainly effective for pain, it can be used to help many health problems. And needles don't have to be used.
The confusion is because of the name "acupuncture." It is actually a philosophy of health that is thousands of years old. It is based on the principle of the flow of energy, called chi, throughout your body through a network of channels called meridians. These meridians form a network of channels for the energy to circulate, similar to the way that the circulatory system distributes blood.
The connection of this meridian system to your health is important. All of the organs of the body are connected and related to different meridians. When chi moves through these channels without blockage, your body energy will be balanced, which promotes health.
If there are blockages to the flow of this energy somewhere in a meridian channel, the organs associated with that meridian become weak, which can result in ill health. This can occur on a physical or emotional level.
If you are upset emotionally or have some toxin in an organ, the meridian associated with that organ or that emotion can cause a blockage or imbalance in other meridians, affecting other organs. Everything affects everything else in the body. The body works as a whole, not just individual parts. We are more than just a collection of parts, like a car.
The purpose of acupuncture, whether it is done with needles, which are very small, or by other means, is to either stimulate or calm down the affected meridians using precise points that will reverse the blockage or imbalance.
This energy can seem mysterious because it cannot be seen. This can result in skepticism of the validity of acupuncture energy. But when you consider electromagnetic energies, such as radio waves, satellite TV waves, your cellphone, the force that repels two magnets brought together or X-rays of your spine, are not visible, then it doesn't seem so unusual.
By the way, research has shown that all the cells of your body, trillions of them, have an electrical current around them. This cannot be seen either, so again, this is not so unbelievable.
If someone is fearful of needles, there are other tools that can be used. Stimulation of acupuncture points can be carried out with tools that provide gentle pressure on these points on the skin. The therapy is performed at specific points on the skin, which are places on the body where the meridians are close to the surface.
Many stubborn health conditions have been helped by acupuncture and other alternative methods, including herbs, physiotherapy, chiropractic and nutritional supplements, to achieve accelerated gains in recovery of health and well-being.
Tim Holcomb is a Victoria nutritionist, pharmacist, naturopath and chiropractor.