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What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture, the ancient medical art, is considered a" New alternative" medicine in today's western culture. In reality acupuncture and its related moxibustion, are medical treatments that have been practiced for more than 5,000 years. So, what is acupuncture? Simply, acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles under the skin in order to influence physiological functioning of the body. Sometimes, electrical stimulus is applied to the needles.
Acupuncture is based on the theory that there is energy, called Chi or qi, flowing through the body. Chi is thought to flow along energy pathways called meridians. Chinese medical practitioners believe a blocking or imbalance of the flow of Chi at any point on a pathway may result in illness. They believe acupuncture unblocks and rebalances the flow of Chi to restore health.
Over the last few decades, research has been conducted seeking to explain how acupuncture works and what it can and cannot treat.
In 1997, the National Institute of Health ( NIH ) Consensus on Acupuncture reported that " studies have demonstrated that acupuncture can cause multiple biological responses, mediated mainly by sensory neurons, to many structures within the central nervous system. This can lead to activation of pathways, affecting various physiological systems in the brain, as well as in the periphery."
The NIH consensus also suggested that acupuncture " may activate the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, resulting in a broad spectrum of systemic effects. Alteration in secretion of neurotransmitters and neurohormones, and changes in the regulation of blood flow, both centrally and peripherally, have been documented. There is also evidence of alterations in immune functions produced by acupuncture. "