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Traditional Acupuncture

A Complete System of Medicine
Traditional Acupuncture, or TCM Acupuncture, refers to diagnostic and treatment methods used in China today. It also forms the basis of training used in the majority of American Acupuncture schools. Over thousands of years of study and experimentation, the practice of Acupuncture has been refined into a complete system of medicine. Once known in the West primarily for pain relief, it is now successfully used for a wide variety of health conditions, ranging from digestive and hormonal complaints, to mood and blood pressure problems.

Centuries ago, it was discovered that stimulating specific sites on the body with hair-thin needles resulted in lasting and dramatic changes in health and well-being. No one knew exactly how it worked, but it did, and it ultimately spread throughout most of Asia. It took a while, but after much research and an endorsement by the National Institutes of Health, Acupuncture is finally receiving its well-deserved recognition here in America.

The Brain Responds
Acupuncture has been shown to selectively activate specific centers in the brain to bring about homeostasis and improvements in physiological functions. This has been consistently demonstrated in both PET scans and MRI brain scans. By activating a nerve at a particular place with a needle, the brain is induced to respond by normalizing functions in the related organ or system of the body, such as producing more digestive enzymes or relaxing a muscle.

Homeostasis is key here, in that acupuncture brings about a balance in normal function. For example, if someone produces too much acid in their stomach, needling a point below the knee will decrease it. But that same point will increase it in someone who produces too little. The same holds true for every chemical studied so far, and explains why Acupuncture is so safe.

Strengthening Resistance to Disease
Traditionally, Acupuncturists viewed health and disease primarily in terms of internal balance, recognizing a therapeutic value in supporting the body’s natural healing potential, reducing stress and removing obstacles to healing. They tried to assist an increased communication between the brain and various organ functions. They paid attention to the critical interaction between physical and emotional health, and the significance of strengthening resistance to disease, as well as to outside pathogens.

Experience confirmed that if a person's normal recuperate abilities were improved, and resistance reinforced, diseases might be prevented and better health would result. So the question asked was always, "What can we do to improve health, to enhance the body's optimum function?"

Medicine for the 21st Century
This ancient Acupuncture philosophy is re-emerging at the forefront of a new paradigm shift in medicine that focuses on the person who has the disease, in addition to the disease itself. Attacking bacteria and viruses, along with the increasing use of powerful-but-toxic medications, worked well in the early 20th Century, when our greatest obstacles were life-threatening infectious diseases.

However, this approach has been largely ineffective with the common and degenerative illnesses that plague Americans today. There is a need for a safe and effective treatments that maximize the body's healing potential, while helping us feel healthy and vital, with more energy and less pain.

First, Do No Harm
Acupuncture serves the Hippocratic Oath’s decree to ‘first, do no harm.’ It improves the healthy functioning of the body with the primary ‘side-effect’ of ‘feeling good.’ In addition to relieving the primary symptoms, most people are surprised by how good they feel after a series of Acupuncture treatments.

It has been shown in studies to regulate immunity, inflammation, blood pressure, blood chemistry and brain chemistry and neurotransmitters, in such a way that health is actually increased. Health is more than an absence of symptoms, but encompasses a dynamic sense of ‘well-being,’ and ability to heal and maintain healthy function in the face of life’s constant stresses and assaults. Traditional Acupuncturists couldn’t measure the biochemical changes brought about by Acupuncture, but they saw their effects.

Meridians and Qi
It was believed that there was a system of ‘meridian’ pathways that helped distribute energy, or Qi, to all the organs, muscles and tendons. A blockage, deficiency or imbalance in this distribution could lead to disease and pain.

Properly applied Acupuncture was said to open up the flow of energy and restore balance, so the body could heal. It’s interesting to note that modern research shows that Acupuncture increases the production of ATP (the way the body stores energy) and cyclic-AMP (for better cellular communication) and regulates (normalizes) many of the hormones that create balance in the body.

Getting the Body to Change
Doctor’s prescribe many medicines to replace functions that the body is no longer able to do: anti-inflammatories if the body can’t effectively manage inflammation; muscle relaxants and sleeping pills if the body can’t relax; insulin if blood sugar can’t be controlled; diuretics, etc. if blood pressure won’t normalize; pain pills when the body’s own pain-relieving chemicals are exhausted. But as soon as these drugs wear off, we’re right back where we were, and needing to take the medicines again and again. The body, the condition, hasn’t changed. What if we could get the body to do some of these things on its own?

Acupuncture does just that. It doesn’t add anything from outside. Acupuncture induces the body’s own innate ability to regulate and produce the required chemicals the body needs to heal. If the brain can be prodded to increase endorphin production and relax muscles, we’ll feel better with less pain. If serotonin can be increased, we’ll relax and sleep better, and enjoy a better mood. If our immune system is increased, we’ll be less susceptible to allergies, viruses and bacterial infections.

Long-lasting Effects
Acupuncture does all this and more, naturally, effectively and consistently. Results are normally longlasting, and after an initial series, many people don’t require ongoing regular treatment. While not a panacea for everything or everyone, the success rate is high enough to encourage people to explore this option before submitting to the uncertainties and potential harm involved with the chronic use of medications or surgery.

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