Qi, Life energy, a Vital or Odic force
What is Qi?
Qi or Chi can be explained simply as the bioelectrical force that flows through all living things. According to ancient Chinese theories, Qi is the energy or force behind every physiological process in our bodies. This energy circulates throughout the body along specific pathways that are called meridians. Each meridian connects internally with internal organs. As long as this energy flows freely throughout the meridians, health is maintained, but once the flow of energy is blocked, the system is disrupted and pain and illness occur. Oriental Medicine perceives health as abundant and free flowing Qi energy.
How does Acupuncture work?
Fine needles are gently inserted at strategic acu-points in the body’s tissue. This induces many responses within the body. According to TCM theory, acupuncture stimulates, unblocks and regulates the flow of bioelectrical energy and circulation within the meridians. These meridian pathways flow in patterns similar to our nervous and circulatory systems. Modern scientific research has theorized that acupuncture stimulates regionally specific areas of the brain and nervous system to release neurotransmitter chemicals such as endorphins, serotonin and corticosteroids. These chemicals help to reduce pain and inflammation within the body, reduce stress, improve immunity and promote a sense of wellbeing. Acupuncture also increases the blood circulation locally and distally to help reduce pain and promote healing processes.
Does it hurt?
An acupuncture filiform needle is very different from the familiar hypodermic needle. A hypodermic needle is much larger, it has a pointed tip and it is hollow. An acupuncture needle is fine, slender and has a rounded tip. These thin, single use, disposable needles are designed for painless insertion. However, your acupuncturist may stimulate the needles to obtain a “Qi sensation”. This may be felt in different ways ranging from a dull ache to a tingling or traveling sensation. Many people find these sensations very relaxing and quite pleasurable.
What Can Acupuncture Treat?
The World Health Organization recognizes Acupuncture's effectiveness for over 40 common disorders, such as:
1) Ear, Nose & Throat Disorders- toothache, earache, sinusitis, laryngitis, rhinitis
2) Respiratory Disorders- cold & flu, bronchitis, asthma, allergies, emphysema
3) Gastrointestinal Disorders- food allergies, nausea, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, ulcers, colitis
4) Circulatory Disorders- hypertension, high cholesterol, arteriosclerosis, angina pectoris
5) Urogenital Disorders- cysitsis, stress incontinence, neurogenic bladder, prostatitis, prostatic hypertrophy
6) Gynecological Disorders- menstrual irregularity, endometriosis, PMS, infertility, menopausal syndrome
7) Musculoskeletal Disorders- tennis elbow, frozen shoulder, TMJ, sciatica, low back pain, arthritis, carpal tunnel, fibromyalgia
8) Psychoemotional and Neurological Disorders- depression, anxiety insomnia, headache, migraine, trigeminal neuralgia, intercostal neuralgia, post-stroke paralysis, dizziness, tinnitus
In addition, Acupuncture has been used for over 1000 years to treat hundreds of other problems.