The foundation of Oriental medicine is that Qi (pronounced chee) flows through the body through channels known as meridians that connect and influence all of our major organs. A harmonious balance, or homeostasis, is maintained in each system and organ if Qi is abundant and flowing freely. Qi is defined as the ‘life force’ or ‘vital substance’ that controls the energy and functions of all living beings. According to Chinese medical theory, illness arises when the flow of Qi becomes unbalanced or is blocked.
Acupuncture moves and balances qi, which restores proper functioning and health. Acupuncture treatments are cumulative, where the benefits of each treatment build upon the previous one. Over time, the body’s immune system and all other systems improve their function and ability to work harmoniously.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), many studies in animals and humans have demonstrated that acupuncture can cause multiple biological responses, both locally at the site of insertion and a distance through sensory neurons to structures within the central nervous system. Acupuncture points are areas of electrical sensitivity that have been clinically effective in the treatment of specific health conditions. This response leads to the activation of pathways affecting the brain and systems in the periphery.
The hypothalamus also controls body temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue, and circadian cycles. The pituitary gland, called the ‘master’ gland of the endocrine system, controls the functions of other endocrine glands and produces certain hormones like growth hormone, TSH to stimulate to the thyroid gland, and ACTH to stimulate the adrenal glands.
The World Health Organization lists over 40 medical conditions that may benefit from the use of acupuncture including: