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What are Acupuncture Points and How Do They Work?

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Acupuncture is an ancient form of medicine that originated in Asia. Over the last few decades, it has become increasingly accepted in the Western world, with more and more scientific studies touting its benefits. The overall concept behind this form of therapy, and acupressure – closely related to acupuncture, is that the body is composed of a delicate network of energy channels, which circulate our blood, nervous system feedback, lymphatic fluid, hormones, and vital energy, also known as Qi. Each meridian has multiple acupuncture points that affect different areas, organs, or body systems. The foundation of how acupuncture is actually performed is through the stimulation of acupuncture points to correct blockages or imbalances in the flow of energy, and to ultimately restore the patient’s health. Contra Costa County acupuncturists can help relieve pain and inflammation with this effective ancient form of medicine.

Acupuncture Points

According to traditional Chinese medicine practitioners, the human body has at least 2,000 acupuncture points. In 1991, the World Health Organization (WHO) developed ‘A Proposed Standard International Acupuncture Nomenclature Report’, in which 361 acupuncture points, organized under the 14 major meridians, are identified. It also proposes a nomenclature for 8 additional meridians, 48 extra acupuncture points, as well as 14 scalp acupuncture lines.

Here is a list of the 14 primary meridians according to the World Health Organization.

  • Bladder
  • Conception Vessel
  • Gallbladder
  • Governing Vessel
  • Heart
  • Kidney
  • Large Intestine
  • Liver
  • Pericardium
  • Lung
  • Small Intestine
  • Stomach
  • Spleen
  • Triple Warmer or Triple Energizer

How Acupuncture Points Work

 It took thousands of years to develop the knowledge of actual locations of the different acupuncture points. The answer to how they work depends on the person you ask. Modern science is only beginning to uncover how this practice of medicine actually affects the body.

Medical research is inconclusive at present, however, the following premises have been largely considered:

  • One theory is that when a needle is inserted in an acupuncture point, the release of a chemical called adenosine is stimulated, which helps in relieving pain.
  • Another theory is that placing an acupuncture needle has a stimulating effect on the nerve pathway, and signals the brain to release endorphins, a type of hormones, which can also help in relieving pain.
  • It is also suggested in another hypothesis that acupuncture reduces inflammation.
  • A final theory is that placing the acupuncture needle stimulates the nerve and causes it to secrete a growth factor that helps in regenerating the nerve.

Regardless of why they affect the body, the acupuncture points work with a variety of methods to activate each point – the most well-known method being the use of needles.

If you suffer from pain or inflammation due to an illness or chronic disorder, simply contact Monarch Acupuncture & Wellness – it is our passion to help people achieve a pain-free life.