How does acupuncture work?

By | January 21, 2021

How does acupuncture work?

Eusung Woo, Masters of Science in Acupuncture student ESATM

Acupuncture works by insertion of needles as we know. Acupuncture needles are, unlike, hollow to inject solutions, metal filiform made from stainless steel. They come in different gauges, lengths, coatings to suit which part of the body needles are being inserted into. When needles are inserted, the body is started work to regain its own balance. It is where the discussion of the topic of how acupuncture works can go in many directions.  For the purpose of the higher education blog writing, this is for those who would like to know more about how traditional Chinese medicine works.

Acupuncture needle insertion is not all there is to how acupuncture works. Traditional Chinese medicine certainly does not view the nature of diseases and the body in the same way as modern medicine.  Traditional Chinese medicine, as I am learning, is rational and detailed in the ways it works.  When the needles are inserted, they are being inserted into the acupuncture points selected according to the Chinese medicine treatment principles and diagnoses.

Chinese medicine treatment principles and diagnoses are a crucial part of how acupuncture actually works and how points are selected. More writings are necessary to introduce acupuncture points. For the purpose of time, these are like the individual prescriptions that practitioners diagnose according to the nature of diseases and the body’s complaints.

In order to get to the Chinese medicine diagnoses and select acupuncture points to be needled, patients’ medical history and medication, Western anatomy, physiology, and pathology, Chinese medicine etiology and pathomechanism, patterns, acupuncture points, and channels, and more are all carefully looked into.  Therefore, certainly, bodywork is part of acupuncture modalities, however, acupuncture, as I have experienced, cannot be confined to bodywork.

When I took architecture 101 in college, assignments were given to train students’ spatial understanding because space is not tangible unless the body is there to experience.  Acupuncture for many reasons is under defined because what happens after needles are inserted onto the body is invisible. However, as Elsa from the Disney movie Frozen sang and a good friend of mine said to me once, let it go and suspend one’s own belief.  Traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture are real and tangible that work in the body.

Sources: ESATM Masters of Science in Acupuncture class discussions and personal notes

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