When most people think about the benefits of an acupuncture treatment, they think about pain relief.
Acupuncture is an amazing pain relieving tool, but it is just one component of Chinese medicine, which is a comprehensive healthcare system. Acupuncture, herbs, qi gong, tai chi, and Tui na (Chinese bodywork) represented the medical modalities the Chinese population relied upon exclusively for thousands of years.
It is a system that can treat a wide variety of conditions safely and effectively, and it can help you not only recover your health, but maintain it. It is a wonderful modality for both preventing and treating illness.
In Chinese medicine, your body produces wei qi, or defensive qi. Wei qi is akin to the external aspect of your immune system in Western physiology: skin and mucus membranes (the lining of the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary tracts) that act as mechanical and chemicals barriers preventing pathogens from entering the body.
Wei qi is the outermost barrier that helps keep pathogens outside of the body.
Wei qi is formed mainly by the lung organ in Chinese medicine. The lung in Chinese medicine is similar to, but not exactly the same, as the lung in Western medicine. In Chinese medicine, the lung not only regulates breathing, its health is manifested on the skin and it governs what Western medicine would call the internal immune system (immune cells, chemical messengers, etc.)
All organs in Chinese medicine are associated meridians. Meridians are pathways on the outside of the body in which the qi, or the vitality, of the organ flows.
Located on these meridians are acupuncture points or specific places have different effects on the qi of the organ. All meridians connect with one another, so affecting the vitality of one organ will affect the system as a whole.
When an acupuncturist takes your pulse, they are checking the vitality of each organ. The acupuncturist then formulates a list of points that helps to balance out the qi of each organ.
By treating specific points on the lung meridian, an acupuncturist can help to relieve an acute illness, like a sinus infection or a cold, or he or she can boost the immune system as a preventative measure.
Each point used influences the qi of the organ in a different way. The points can strengthen the vitality of the lung, drain out extra energy that is present as the result of an infection, or increase the wei qi to prevent illness.
Overall, acupuncture is an amazing system of medicine because it restores balance to the body. When the body is out of balance, it cannot respond to pathogens, pain, stress, or injury properly. In balance, the body can effectively respond to said insults and heal much more quickly.
Having a balanced system is key to maintain and improving health, and acupuncture is an effective and safe method to do so.