Acupuncture, what is it really good for?
Acupuncture and Blended Medicine™
The other day I was talking to my chiropractor friend about a man he had been treating for low back pain. John was having surgery on his low back because of a ruptured disc. I asked Dr. DC why he hadn’t referred him for acupuncture. He said he didn’t realize that it would help. He had given John tens and laser treatments which he thought would be the same as acupuncture or better.
The conversation made me realize that even people who know about acupuncture may not understand just how much different it is than you might think. Of course, it is helpful for pain conditions. But acupuncture does so much more than help pain.
Many years ago when I went into acupuncture I fell in love with it, not only because it was a great way to treat people, but because it offered me a way of looking at health that was totally different than the conventional medicine I was currently involved in. I was able to see that it would be a perfect complement, to fill in the gaps in areas where I wasn’t able to help my patients.
Benefits of Acupuncture
Acupuncture is only a part of the whole system of Chinese medicine. Herbs, nutrition, lifestyle, and body-work also play a role. It is based on the idea that you are made up of energy. Energy travels through your body in certain patterns and when your energy is out of balance you begin to have problems. Everything in your whole life is connected to your energy. Within your body, it involves not just your physical being but also your emotions, your moods, your thoughts, your spirit, and your connection to others.
The principle of Chinese medicine is to assess your energy and then help it get balanced. Acupuncture needles are placed in specific points to help balance the whole of you. There is a reason John got that injury. Perhaps the apparent physical reason is that he did too much heavy lifting. Other factors are also connected. He dealt with a certain amount of ongoing stress in his life. His emotions, his outlook on life, his hormones, and his overall physical health also affect his ability to heal. Acupuncture addresses him at all those levels. Using a tens unit or laser therapy really only addresses the local physical problem.
Can Acupuncture Help You?
Imagine that your body is a house with all sorts of electrical systems in place. Not all of them are on at the same time. When you turn on a light switch it allows the electricity to flow in that part of your house. This is how acupuncture works, you put a needle in some place and it turns on the power in that part of your body’s energy. Each location is specific and deals with a necessary aspect of your body’s functions just as turning on various switches in your house powers only certain areas. Sometimes you want to tune the whole system, like when you turn on the air conditioning it cools the whole house. Or turning on the heat- and so on.
When the switches are turned on everything begins to light up. Mood improves, hormones improve, immune system functions better. If your house blew a fuse, you wouldn’t have power to that part of your home.
It’s the same in your body, but a bit more complicated.
I’m not saying that John shouldn’t have had surgery. There are times when surgery is necessary and we just don’t have a choice. It’s possible, if he had acupuncture earlier in the course of his treatment, he might have been able to avoid it.
A recent television documentary titled “Escape Fire” talked about the problems of our health care system. One very poignant part of the show was about how our soldiers are treated when flown from Iraq to hospitals after they’ve been injured. They are in so much pain that they are given massive amounts of drugs. Recently, they have been receiving acupuncture needles in their ears while flying. They are in much less pain, much more relaxed, and arrive less traumatized as a result.