Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine are among the oldest continuous systems of medicine, originating nearly 5,000 years ago. Together, they constitute the basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which is based upon the notions of balance, and employs the ideas of moderation and prevention. TCM views health as a state of harmony between mind, body and spirit. Thus disease is viewed as a state of imbalance, which can result from many factors, including mental and emotional stress, physical trauma, improper diet, environmental factors and genetic predispositions.
The goal of TCM is to balance yin (vital essence) and yang (vital function), promote smooth flow of qi (vital force/energy) and blood throughout the body, as well as strengthen and tonify qi an blood when necessary. TCM not only treats the symptoms, but also focuses on the cause or root of the presenting problem. A thorough evaluation of the patient is necessary for the practitioner to determine the root of the imbalance, which then leads them to diagnosis and treatment.
Acupuncture uses the insertion of extremely fine needles into specific acupuncture points situated along the pathways on the body, known as meridians, in order to regulate the flow of qi and activate the healing process. The effects produced by acupuncture enhance and activate the body’s ability to heal itself, promoting physical and mental health.
Modern research suggests that acupuncture dramatically controls pain by stimulating the nervous system to release the body’s natural painkilling chemicals. Additional research suggests that acupuncture promotes blood flow to the brain and may prompt the release of hormones such as serotonin, which transmit nerve impulses. Acupuncture may also influence the pituitary gland to release anti-inflammatory agents into the bloodstream.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) have endorsed the use of acupuncture for a diverse group of medical disorders, including: Respiratory, Musculo-skeletal, Gastrointestinal, Cardiovascular, Emotional, and Neurological disorders. Also, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine has been accepted as recommended adjunctive therapy to Cancer treatments and Infertility.