Two Theories Explaining Acupuncture’s Ability to Relieve Pain

In the United States, a whopping 8.2 million Americans decided to try acupuncture treatment in Cleveland at some point in their lives. This is according to the most recent study of Chinese medicine and acupuncture in the US. About 2.1 million out of that 8.2 million had availed of it within the past year. In 1972, the New York Times published an article by James Reston which talked about the use of needles to quell pain. Since then, the media has been all over Eastern medicine. Of course, when talking about Chinese medicine you have a whole world of herbal remedies and herbal medicines at your disposal besides acupuncture.

A lot of medical professionals in the West are somewhat perplexed as to how acupuncture works and because of this they tend to question its validity. There are certain explanations about how Chinese medicine, in general, and acupuncture, in particular, seems to be quite successful in healing certain forms of diseases. One explanation is the “Gate Control” theory. In this theory, pain signals are believed to travel more slowly along the internal pathways of the body.

When a needle is inserted into an acupoint, it stimulates the production and release of the body’s own painkilling chemicals known as endorphins that travel much quicker and throw the pain signals out of their path. The pain signals never actually reach the brain because the slow pain signal is blocked in the shoving and pushing of signals.

The “Electrical” theory is another Chinese theory. It states that Chinese acupuncture works by manipulating the body’s electromagnetic fields, which the body always discharges frequently. Acupuncture changes chemical neurotransmitters in the process leading to the reduction of pain. British physicians In 1999, discovered that collagen was a good conductor of electricity. A doctor named Dr. Mae Won Ho stated that collagen fibers can conduct electromagnetic energy in the same way as water channels conduct electricity. These fibers correspond to the chi-carrying channels in the body known as meridians. When an acupuncturist inserts a needle into an acupoint, it generates a local electrical stimulation that is conveyed to remote parts of the body.

Each person responds to Chinese medicine and acupuncture in a unique way. There are those who feel no pain or feel it minimally as the needles are stuck into the skin; some may feel soreness instead. Some patients are calmed while others are invigorated by Chinese acupuncture. A lot of patients do return for multiple treatments which over time tend to get easier and easier.

Patients know they’ve pushed themselves too hard that week if they’re feeling a little bit of discomfort during a certain session. They need to slow down and enjoy the moment. That will make them in much better shape physically and mentally.

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