There are two fundamental concepts within Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine:
- Energy or Qi
- Balance/Homeostasis or Yin/Yang
Acupuncture restores the proper flow of energy within the body, in order to achieve natural homeostasis. Acupuncture needles serve as a conduit to stimulate the body’s own natural healing system in response to imbalance and disease.
True healing occurs when the body learns to heal itself!
Homeostasis: “The ability of the body or a cell to seek and maintain a condition of equilibrium or stability within its internal environment when dealing with external changes.” Homeostasis is controlled by the Hypothalamus in the brain.
Acupuncture needles send information to hypothalamus to stimulate homeostasis and restore balance to the body.
What is Qi?
Qi is the vital life energy that circulates continuously throughout the body. Qi can be difficult to define because it cannot be seen or properly measured, but here is a great analogy to understand it’s importance: Envision an elderly man, who passes away during the night. His body, organs, blood, and cells are all still there, but the vital force that kept him alive is gone – that is what Qi is. Qi can also be seen a metaphor for all the transformative and circulatory actions of the body; it is a stimulus for movement and function. Qi is comparable to oxygen and nutrients – what keep our body alive. Qi flows with blood and interstitial fluid, and functions to provide nourishment and remove wastes for every cell, tissue, muscle, organ, and gland in the body.
Where does Qi flow?
Qi flows throughout the body within specific pathways or meridians. There are 14 main meridians according the Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, and each of these meridians is connected to a specific organ, various body structures, and also to the other meridians. The meridian pathways are like a network of rivers nourishing a landscape, through which Qi flows to nourish and energize the body. Qi flows through the 12 organ-paired meridians in a specific cycle, and the functions of each organ is strongest during the time the Qi flows though it. (See Diagram.)
A sufficient, balanced, and continuous flow of Qi is the building block of good health. Building good quality Qi and Blood begins with a strong digestive system, and is affected by diet, emotions, environment, and other lifestyle factors.
Blockage of Qi = Imbalance
Obstruction to the flow of Qi restricts nourishment to all structures and physiological processes of the body. Like how a flower will wilt and die if there is obstruction to its flow of water, blockage to the flow of Qi prevents the body from functioning adequately as an integrated system. Stagnation of Qi within the meridian system also creates pain. Where there is stagnation, there is pain. Where there is no stagnation, there is no pain.
Physical and emotional trauma, stress and emotional distress, lack of exercise, overexertion, seasonal changes, poor diet, or excessive activity are among the many things that can influence the quality, quantity and balance of Qi.
Communication is Key!
Acupuncture stimulates movement of Qi, and reestablishes proper communication among all systems of the body. Body and mind work together in one integrated system. Acupuncture needles also send information to the hypothalamus to stimulate homeostasis and restore balance to the body.