How does Acupuncture work?

what is acupuncture?Some people come along for acupuncture quite happy to relax into the session without needing to know what it is all about.

Others – and this may be you – want to know more.

What does acupuncture do?  How does it work?   What are the needles doing and how do I chose where to put them?

If you are curious to know more, this is a post for you.

What is acupuncture?

We all know it involves putting needles into the body in specific places. These are acupuncture points and there are about 400 of them on the body.

The points connect up with each other along pathways known as Channels or Meridians. Like rivers flowing through the whole body they carry energy.

These Channels take their names from the main organs of the body.

For example the Heart channel runs from under the armpit down to the little finger. There are 9 points on this Channel.

The Bladder channel runs from the inner corner of the eye, over the head and down the back to the ankle. There are 67 points on this channel.

Most Channels are bilateral but there are also two that run up the central axis – front and back – called the Conception and the Governor Channels.

Why do acupuncturists put needles so far away from the painful area?

The answer lies in the pathways of energy.

For neck pain we may use points on the ankle because we are working on the Bladder Channel.  For back pain we may use a point on the knee.

Heart palpatations may be treated by using points on the wrist.

What are the needles doing?

Acupuncture is a method of balancing, moving or strengthening life energy, This energy is called Qi (pronounced chee).  Qi flows not only along the channels but throughout the whole body. The Channels and the Points are places where we can contact the Qi more easily. Like springs of water that flow to the surface.

The needles are left in for up to half an hour and are making contact with the  Qi energy in order to help it flow better. Different points have their own ways of working so there are some that are calming, some that move the energy, and some that have specific aims such as easing pain or helping digestion.

 Not only about the body

Strong vibrant Qi is important for emotional and spiritual health.  This is how acupuncture treats non-physical symptoms too,  like depression or anxiety.

Qi is always flowing and finding balance. We are born with energy inherited from our parents and ancestors and throughout life we need to look after our Qi and to learn what brings us health and happiness and what brings us down.

Acupuncturists do more than just put needles into points. We help you understand how the Qi got out of balance in the past.  Then we can find ways to strengthen it in the present.

Of course Acupuncture involves putting needles into the body but really it is about working with Qi.  The food we eat, how we balance activity and rest, how happy we feel, where we live, who we spend time with, how well we breathe and what work we do, all this and more affect the state of our Qi.

Three Ways to Take Care of your Qi today

  • Stop right now and take a deep breath. Feel how your body enjoys having a pause in your busy day. Let your muscles relax. Smile.
  • Eating slowly and with awareness helps your stomach digest more easily.  Is the food you have chosen full of nutrients? Is it happy food? Remember that every mouthful is creating new Qi .
  • Qi likes to move. If you are working at a desk then stop regularly to stretch. Get up and move around. This sounds so simple but how often we forget to move.  Even better –  put on some music and have a dance – Qi likes to dance!

Please pass on this post by sharing it. We all need reminders of how to take care of our energy. Sharing information means we keep the Qi flowing for a healthier and happier world.

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