The Regulating Effects of Acupuncture
Acupuncture is concerned with stimulating and enhancing the body’s self-healing power. Acupuncture is physical stimulation, which creates a cascade of positive changes inside the body to promote physiological functions, self regulation and encourage the body’s self-healing abilities. In other words, acupuncture largely relies on the body’s own regulatory state to accomplish its therapeutic proposes: if the health condition cannot resolve through body’s own natural healing abilities, then other alternatives should be used in a timely manner, understanding the concrete action of acupuncture gives insight to its clinical validity.
Modern studies have revealed that acupuncture can stimulate the body’s signaling system, which speed up the healing process under certain circumstances. This means that acupuncture can either help disease or alleviate symptoms through its multiple regulating effects. Specialists have concluded that acupuncture works in three major ways: as analgesia, as a regulator of the physiological system, and as an enhancer of the immune defense system. They have showed some of the following phenomena:
- Analgesia: acupuncture increases the threshold of pain perception: this action is mediated by stimulating the release of natural endorphins in the nervous system.
- Respiratory system: the autonomic nervous system may be closely involved in this. Acupuncture can alter respiratory movements: it can modulate the capacity of gas exchange, the oxygen exhaustion rate as well as the contraction and secretion actions of the air way.
- Cardiovascular system: it has been found that acupuncture does little for the cardiovascular system in normal and healthy individuals: however, it has positive modulation effects in an abnormal cardiovascular system such as rapid heart rate, poor heart pumping, unstable blood pressure and poor peripheral circulation.
- Digestive system: acupuncture works on the digestive system by regulating gastrointestinal tract movements and digestive system. The treatment is ideal for problems like gastritis, stomachache, stomach prolapse and ulcers.
- Urinary system: acupuncture modulates the excretion functions of the kidneys, and also modifies the bladder emptying. These might be because it induces different neural reflex actions to enhance their functional states.
- Sex and the reproductive system: generally, acupuncture enhances the functioning of the sex organs by modulating the axis of the hypothalamus-pituitary-sex glands.
- Endocrine system: acupuncture induces neural activities and affects endocrine secretions.
- Nervous system: acupuncture mediates neuro-hormonal activities, which are accomplished by neural reflexes in different levels of the body system.
- Immune system: there is plenty of evidence that acupuncture enhances immune functioning and helps to regulate various immune problems back to a normal state. Acupuncture not only increases the amount of white blood cells, but also improves their actions. Acupuncture helps cancer patients to endure surgery.
The Meridian System and Acupuncture
According to traditional Chinese medicine theory, our body consists of a giant web called the meridian system linking different parts together. Its channels making up a comprehensive yet complex body map that supplies qi (vital energy) to every part of the body, assists the distribution of blood and body fluids, maintains the balance between yin and yang elements, and protects the body against disease. Along these channels, acu-points are the sites through which the qi of the organs and meridians is transported to the body surface. It is generally believed that diseases can be treated when the affected meridians or the affected organs are cleared. Acupuncturists work on these points to regulate corresponding organs or meridians so that the body can return to a state of balance and health.
The meridian system is made up by a series of channels, which are sequential to each other in the circulation of qi. In the system, the twelve regular meridians form the major structure. They branch out twelve large collaterals to enter the chest, abdomen and head for connecting the internal organs: fifteen external collaterals to run along the limbs and on the trunk. There area also twelve small collaterals for controlling the muscles and tendons, and smaller collaterals disturbed on the skin surface, and the eight extra meridians to enhance the communications dysfunctions within the system. They work closely with each other, with a dysfunction in one usually affecting another. In Chinese medicine, to be knowledgeable about the meridian system is as important as anatomy and physiology in Western medicine.