Acupuncture and Healing I
Opening meridians for healing to occur
We know from pictorial and written accounts that Acupuncture has been around for at least four to five thousand years. There have been more people treated with acupuncture than all other modalities combined. The principle of modern or allopathic medicine has only been around for about one hundred sixty years. Still, there are many theories about how acupuncture works. Following is a list of the various theories and the beliefs behind those theories.
The hypnosis theory: Although hypnosis can be very powerful, it cannot explain how acupuncture works with babies and animals. Hypnosis is often involved in healing or even in creating an illness, but for most therapeutic benefits, it works best when there is a deep desire for change. The other theories will help explain even further why acupuncture is so effective.
The placebo theory: The placebo theory is definitely out of the question in explaining the efficacy of acupuncture, because acupuncture works on small babies and animals. It is fast becoming more popular today as an effective treatment for animals and is used by more and more veterinarians. Its efficacy rate is about 80 percent, compared to placebo at only 33 percent.
The endorphin theory: Endorphins are the body’s natural opiate. Endorphins have painkilling and anti inflammatory properties. During an acupuncture treatment endorphins increase. These endorphins affect behavior, including abstinence of addiction and are responsible for homeostasis or the state of balanced health.
There is plenty of evidence of the efficacy of acupuncture in affecting the endorphin response. First, there is an increased level of endorphins in animals and babies who have acupuncture treatments. Second, when patients were given Naloxone, also known as Narcan, a drug used for patients who overdose on opiates, the Naloxone blocks endorphins. It also blocks the effects of acupuncture. Endorphins help to relieve pain and are responsible for that “feel good” feeling of moderate to deep relaxation.
The electromagnetic theory: All living organisms have a measurable electromagnetic field that surrounds them. An electrocardiogram measures changes in the electromagnetic field as your heart beats. That energy travels through channels, called meridians, throughout the body. Changes in the electromagnetic field may occur even before symptoms are experienced. Acupuncture modifies and changes the flow within these meridians.
The Chinese theory: the Chinese believe in the energy they called Chi. Chi is made of Yin, the feminine nurturing energy, and Yang (sounds like ‘on’, as in yong), the masculine protective energy. In all living organisms, balanced energy is vital for good health. When a person or an animal is healthy, their vital energies of Yin and Yang are balanced. Chi can reproduce itself, which makes it unique, unlike other forms of energy, which can only change their form. The balance of Chi energy keeps the body in homeostasis, in other words, healthy.
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When disease occurs
When Yin and Yang are out of balance, or if the level of Chi drops significantly, disease occurs. Think of it as dis-ease, which is exactly what it means. If Chi is blocked or restricted, pain occurs and healing is slowed. Pain is the obstruction, imbalance or restriction or decreased level of Chi. The protective Yang energy is a normal healing response unless it persists. As an example, a sprained ankle with excess pain, swelling and inflammation is indicative of excess Yang. It could also be that there is not enough Yin to nurture and finish the healing process after the protective Yang's job is done. If Yin cannot reach the injury, Yang continues “protecting” the injury, causing the excess pain and swelling, because without the Yin, it does not know to stop its own process of protecting the injury because it waits for the Yin process of healing to begin.
Acupuncture helps restore balance of the Yin and Yang. In case of too little energy of both, Acupuncture can help increase the Chi that supplies Yin and Yang. This is common and happens when the body is in a low energy state. Another example of an imbalance is constipation. Constipation is an excess of Yin, and diarrhea is excess Yang. There are many individual reasons for decreased healing energy. Ordinarily, the body re-establishes its healing energy by itself, a process built into us. Constant stressors are what eventually deplete the bodily energy beyond the normal daily healing that goes on without your knowing. Many different stressors attack body, mind and spirit. When the stress in our lives outweighs the body's natural ability to heal itself and bring us back into a balanced state we have pain or become ill. Stressors that cause weak Chi are severe or long illness, repeated mental or emotional stress and even deep feelings of loss of the spiritual path. Today we live with far more stress than we were meant to deal with, so we have to take special care of ourselves when and where we can.
There are different ways in which we can increase our Chi, help ourselves stay healthier and notice the signs of imbalance and/or decreased healing energy. My next article will help you understand symptoms of imbalances and decreased Chi, how Acupuncture re-establishes your Chi and how it affects your health and recovery.
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