The common description and explanation for acupuncture is that it’s a system of placing thin, sterile, needles into strategic points on the body which regulate a patient’s “Chi” or life force energy. This in turn creates a therapeutic effect to reduce pain, emotional stress, and the symptoms of a myriad of disease processes. The pathways along which Chi flows are often likened to rivers and streams. Stimulating the appropriate acupuncture points regulates that flow to create a therapeutic effect.
How does Acupuncture Work from a Western Perspective? Without discounting the traditional Chinese medical view of how the body works, let’s translate some of the phenomenon into Western physiological terms. Acupuncture stimulates neural pathways. If we compare a Western chart of the organs and enervating spinal nerves (left) with the Chinese “back shu points” (right), we see a great deal of overlap in terms of location. The back shu points have a major influence on organ function.