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How does acupuncture work?

Hong Liu


How does acupuncture work? How health problems could be cured by putting needles in our body. This is probably the question being asked most frequently.


Although acupuncture has 2500 year history in China, it is still new in North America. Its mechanism is very different than modern science, as well. Even so, it has been clinically and scientifically proved to be very efficient for many health conditions. Unlike western medicine, which goes very much into detail at a micro level, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) forms its own unique sophisticated theory at a macro level from thousands of years of observation and practice.


Considering the human body as part of nature, TCM developed its own theory based on Taoist philosophy, which explains interaction between nature and human body, also the relations and interactions among internal organs. Eg. Excess heat, cold, drought and humidity can cause discomfort to our body, even lead to diseases; or too much emotion such as: sadness, worries, anger will cause unbalance of our organ functions and provoke symptons like chest oppression, insomnia and hypochondriac pain. TCM aims at rebuilt balance between nature and the human body, and balance among organs. When our organs work harmoniously in balance, we stay healthy. Otherwise, we get sick.


As an important part of TCM, acupuncture specializes in inducing fluent blood and energy circulation by using needles to stimulate the sophisticated energy network, also know as meridians. There are twelve major meridians running under our skin, each meridian connecting to an organ. The twelve major meridians are connected one to another to form a complete network in which the energy flows continuously. There are also 15 meridians of passage, 8 extraordinary meridians, and, in addition, 12 tendino-muscular meridians, to reinforce the connection of all the other meridians and all organs. More than 400 acupuncture points, or acupoints are located along all these meridians. Each acupoint has certain functions, especially the points located under elbow and knee, which have stronger impact in adjusting related organ functions. For each treatment, an acupuncturist will choose 8 to 15 points to work with, according to TCM analysis result of patient’s health condition, and will use different techniques to manipulate needles to stimulate these points in order to  restore the balance of our body.


For a better understanding accupuncture, you can also watch the Youtube video in French published by the l’Ordre des Acupuncteurs du Quebec: