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What is Acupuncture?

The Ancient Art of Acupuncture: A Holistic Approach to Healing

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Acupuncture Therapy

In the realm of alternative medicine, acupuncture stands out as a time-honoured practice that has captivated the curiosity of both skeptics and believers alike. Originating from ancient China, acupuncture has traversed centuries and continents, evolving into a widely sought-after therapeutic technique. Let’s unravel the mysteries behind acupuncture, exploring its origins, principles, and the science behind its purported healing effects.

The Origins of Acupuncture

Acupuncture traces its roots back to ancient China, where it emerged over 2,500 years ago as an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The practice is based on the belief that the body's vital energy, known as "qi" (pronounced chee), flows through meridians or pathways. Health is maintained when qi flows harmoniously, and illness is thought to arise from disruptions in this flow.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin, sterile needles into specific points along the body's meridians. The placement of these needles is believed to stimulate and balance the flow of qi, promoting overall well-being. While the concept of qi may seem esoteric, modern research has shed light on the physiological mechanisms behind acupuncture.

Neurotransmitter Release: Acupuncture is thought to stimulate the release of neurotransmitters, such as endorphins and serotonin, which play crucial roles in pain modulation and mood regulation. This may explain why acupuncture is often sought for pain management and mental health issues.

Modulation of Nervous System Activity: Acupuncture has been shown to influence the autonomic nervous system, which regulates involuntary bodily functions. By modulating sympathetic and parasympathetic activity, acupuncture may help restore balance in the body.

Blood Flow and Inflammation: Research suggests that acupuncture may influence blood flow and reduce inflammation. Improved circulation can enhance the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to tissues, aiding in the body's natural healing processes.

Connective Tissue Stimulation: Acupuncture needles may stimulate the body's connective tissues, triggering a cascade of biochemical responses. This includes the release of adenosine, a natural anti-inflammatory substance, which contributes to the therapeutic effects of acupuncture.

Conditions Treated with Acupuncture

Acupuncture is renowned for its versatility in addressing a wide array of health concerns. While it is commonly associated with pain relief, acupuncture has been used to complement conventional treatments for various conditions, including:

Chronic Pain: Acupuncture is frequently employed to alleviate chronic pain conditions such as back pain, arthritis, and migraines.

Stress and Anxiety: Many individuals turn to acupuncture to manage stress, anxiety, and related disorders, finding relief through its calming effects.

Fertility and Reproductive Health: Acupuncture is often utilized as a complementary therapy for fertility issues, supporting reproductive health in both men and women.

Digestive Disorders: Some people seek acupuncture for digestive problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and indigestion.


Acupuncture, rooted in ancient Chinese wisdom, continues to captivate the interest of those seeking alternative and holistic approaches to healthcare. While its mechanisms may not be fully understood, scientific research has provided insights into the physiological changes that occur during acupuncture sessions. As more studies emerge, the integration of acupuncture into mainstream medicine may expand, offering a complementary avenue for those seeking natural and holistic healing methods. Whether you're a skeptic or a believer, the ancient art of acupuncture invites exploration into the intricate connections between mind, body, and the flow of vital energy.

Kelsey Bru is a licensed acupuncturist and TCM Herbalist in the Courtenay, British Columbia. She loves working with women's health, hormones, menopause, fertility, mental health, and beyond through her online articles and at her clinic, The Remedy Room, on Cliffe Avenue, Courtenay. Call for an appointment at 250-800-7738.

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