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The Eastern Medical Perspective

HOW ACUPUNCTURE WORKS – The Chinese medical understanding of this meridian system is that Energy (or Qi, Ch’i, pronounced “Chee” and more closely meaning life’s force and substance) flows through these channels in the body and relate to all regions and organs of the body. Each of the TCM meridians has a direction of flow and they flow into one another and are connected energetically to our physical organs, glands, nervous and circulatory system, and brain. Thus from both an Eastern and Western medical perspective it makes sense that by stimulating one area, it can have a ripple effect through the body via this amazing network of nerves and vessels. Indeed Acupuncture has been shown clinically to have an impact on all of the bodies systems – Endocrine (Hormone), Nervous, Circulatory, Digestive, and Immune system. Eastern medical science has evolved from a heightened understanding of the interrelatedness of every system, organ, tissue and physiological process occurring inside the body and the relationship of a human’s internal environment to his/her external environment as well. Rather than zeroing in on a breakdown in the specific area of ailment, Eastern medical practitioners focus on patterns of disharmony to understand the root of the breakdown leading to the dysfunction. With acupuncture the meridian system serves as the channel through which the practitioner affects change. Scientists who have struggled with the notion of energetic meridians have explained the “energy” flowing through the meridians from a pure physiological process where the stimulation of circulation of blood, nutrients, vital substances, and vital air (qi) through the vascular system is better properly understood. Perhaps to understand Acupuncture and Qi from a Western perspective it also helps to go beyond biomedical science to include other scientific disciplines such as biophysics. For instance, science in the form of Quantum Physics has changed our perceptions of what we are made of. The concept of each of us existing simply as energy is not a new idea. Atoms which were once considered as the smallest particle that existed are in turn made up of subatomic particles, which have no solidity at all. Science tells us we are quite literally, packets or waves of information that vibrate. – We are nothing but energy and information. Acupuncture often is classified in the category of a new umbrella term “Energy Medicine” for therapies that heal energetically. Chinese and other Eastern medicine stems from a philosophical and scientific tradition understood thousands of years ago throughout Asia – that we are energy that communicates. Whether one feels more comfortable with a more physiological theoretic model or the idea of energy flowing through meridians, it is important to understand that Acupuncture aims to keep these lines/channels of communication open and flowing, which is essential for healthy living. When the energy supplied to these bodily systems is disrupted, the body organs and systems are less able to defend against disease and injury. The acupuncture points are where we access the meridian system to have an effect on the rest of the body. This is the meridian system we work with to effect change and to stimulate the body’s own healing mechanisms.

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