What is acupuncture really, and how does it work?
Many of you have experienced the benefits of acupuncture yourselves, found its tremendous health benefits, but are unsure of the mechanism of this system of healing.
Others are looking for help when conventional medicine has no more healing options for our pets, feel that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is some sort of mumbo-jumbo, but that the results are positive. And others of you realize the integrity of the system on which TCM is based. What ever your previous conceptions are, the success of Chinese Medicine and its associated branches of Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Food Therapy and Tui Na (a form of medical massage) cannot be denied. The mechanism of Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on the manipulation of the Autonomic nervous system which is made up of the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic branches.
This system incorporates an array of checks and balances controlling the internal workings of the body by coordination of the amount and time of release of internal chemicals like hormones, anti-inflammatories and neurotransmitters. The Sympathetic Nervous System controls the “flight or fight” reaction of the body induced during times of threat or fear, i.e. “stressful“ situations. The Parasympathetic Nervous System controls “rest and digest” functions of the body, is calming and promotes regeneration nourishment of the body. The constant balance between these two systems is known as “Health”, while imbalance results in “Disease”.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is a complete and separate healing modality which stands alone or may be used in conjunction with conventional medicine. TCM diagnosis is based on precise parameters including tongue characteristics, pulse (rate, rhythm and tone) and palpation of diagnostic points, areas on the skin and in the musculature that share nerve function with internal organs. By putting these clues together, a Chinese Medical diagnosis specific to that particular patient is established. Based on this diagnosis, the patient can immediately begin treatment with acupuncture, herbs and food therapy, unlike conventional medicine which most often requires extensive (and expensive) diagnostic testing before any treatment can be prescribed. Conventional medicine treats the “disease” while natural medicine treats the “individual patient”.
If all tests are negative, conventional medicine tends to fall back on empirical treatments such as antibiotics and steroids which treat infection and inflammation, never addressing the root cause of the medical problem. Basically conventional medicine is based on lab tests and treating symptoms. Obviously, we are all different, therefore so is the way disease affects us, and just treating symptoms is not the route to true resolution of the problem. Unfortunately, many conventional medications have side effects that then need to be treated. This is how we end up sicker than we started. With prescription drugs costs skyrocketing, it is no wonder many people must choose between their prescriptions and their groceries.
Chinese Medicine may, in fact, be a superior method of treating many metabolic, allergic, neurological, immunological and other imbalances because of its ability to use the body’s own internally produced hormones, neurotransmitters, pain mediators and other substances in just the right dosages needed by the body.
Acupuncture can treat structural and musculoskeletal problems by its ability to direct blood flow and pain relieving substances directly to the affected area as well as its whole body effect through its adjustment of the chemicals naturally produced by the body.