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How does acupuncture work?

One of the stumbling blocks for many Americans regarding the use of acupuncture is that it is not well understood how it works. Acupuncture seems so mysterious, which is appealing to some and a stumbling block to others. As an acupuncturist, I have seen acupuncture work hundreds of times even on those who don't believe it will work, yet I am at something of a loss when asked how it works. How is it possible that sticking a tiny needle in the skin of a person can so powerfully affect their health? To a Westerner, trained in the scientific model of physiology and anatomy it doesn't seem possible.

The following are two theories I feel are quite plausible:

1) During our prenatal development, cells coalesce along fold lines. These fold lines mark the separation between future organs, limbs etc. Acupuncture meridians may be the remnants of these fold lines. There is perhaps an early "remembered" association along these lines of adjacent cells. It creates paths of least resistance throughout the body. Many acupuncture points can be found by measuring the electrical resistance of the skin above the point. This lowered resistance suggests that the bioelectric energy of the body can pass easier through these points. The acupuncture needle acts like a key in a lock, helping the bioelectric energy move when before it was once stuck.

 2) Acupuncture needles introduce a microscopic trauma to the body. The body then responds to this trauma as if it were much more severe, and thus sends blood, nutrients and healing energy to the area. The trauma caused by the acupuncture needle is completely insignificant, yet the body's response is as if a more serious trauma has occurred thus accelerating healing.

The truth is that how acupuncture works is still largely a mystery. However the fact is that acupuncture does work. It has been proven time and again to be a powerful tool for optimizing health and healing.

Christopher Vedeler is a Licensed Acupuncturist and Clinical Hypnotherapist in Scottsdale, Arizona, with a Master of Science degree in Oriental Medicine. He is the owner of Oasis Acupuncture, an Oriental medicine clinic where he operates a general family practice that specializes in treating women's health issues, infertility, psychological as well as emotional and spirit disorders from the Chinese medicine perspective. Visit www.oasisacupuncture.com or call Chris at 480-991-3650 for more information.