Acupuncture is based on the theory of yin and yang, or that the universe can be described in terms of dualistic forces that must be in balance to create harmony and health.
Yin is cold, slow and dark, while yang is warm, dry and light. When these two forces are out of balance, the flow of chi is disrupted and blockages occur along pathways known as meridians, causing illness and pain throughout the body.
Acupuncturists believe there are twelve meridians, or energy pathways, that flow through the body and are related to various organs and bodily functions. Along these meridians are hundreds of specific acupuncture points that, when penetrated by an acupuncturist’s needle, can be stimulated to either increase or decrease the flow of chi, restoring balance to the body.
Acupuncturists also use heat, cold and electrical pressure to stimulate these points.
Medical theories of acupuncture include…
- Opioid release states that endorphins, which are part of the body’s natural pain relieving system, are released into the central nervous system during acupuncture and therefore act like a painkiller.
- Spinal chord stimulation is a theory that believes that during acupuncture, nerves in the spinal cord are stimulated to release pain-suppressing neuron-transmitters.
- Blood flow changes is a theory stating that blood flow is increased around acupuncture points when needles are inserted, supplying nutrients and removing toxins.