This is one of the most frequently asked questions an acupuncturist hears. We understand that the thought of putting some fine needles into the body as a way of healing may seem a little…well..bizarre.
So, let me explain why I think acupuncture is good science.
According to the science council, science is the ‘study and application of knowledge using a systematic methodology based on evidence’ (1). Acupuncture follows those two principles.
With over 2,000 years of written observations and clinical application, acupuncture has validated its role within functional medicine. Additionally, in the last 50 years, acupuncture has undergone rigorous testing via western research methods throughout the US, Europe and Asia (including Australia), and has been successfully documented as an alternative to treat many conditions.
With papers and articles confirming acupuncture’s effectiveness in treating pain, nausea, hormone disturbances and neurological impairment, to name but a few, it is recommended as a viable treatment for conditions such as headache, insomnia, rhinitis, menopausal hot flushes and muscular disorders to name but a few.
Secondly, there is a diagnostic system used in the prescription of needles and a thorough methodology to its application. This is not putting a needle in a muscle to release it (also known as dry needling) though an acupuncturist can do this too! No! A qualified acupuncturist works through the symptoms, looks at the causes and then finds the most appropriate points that will rectify the underlying problem AND the symptoms.
So where are the needles placed?
There are 100s of possibilities. There are a basic 350 or so points that can treat a large number of disorders but the well-trained acupuncturist will also have another 300-500 points up their sleeve. For example, scalp acupuncture is widely used in cases of MS and Parkinson’s, abdominal acupuncture is often used for menstrual problems and lower back ache can often be cleared with needles in the shoulder and legs. These needles are able to bring about change due to connection of the blood and neurological systems.
The acupuncture points are nodes containing a high level of sensory fibres, fine blood vessels, messenger cells and lymphatic vessels. The skin in these areas is usually slightly thinner with a lower electrical resistance and the points fall along pathways that interconnect. Needled correctly, a cascading response occurs internally. Sometimes the response is to lower inflammation, other times it’s regulation of the hormone (messenger) system – it depends what the aim of the acupuncturist is. What the body attempts to do is bring about homeostasis, otherwise known as ‘balance.’
So, good acupuncture comes down to the principles of science: method and application.
At ben&biao this is at the forefront of our beliefs, and we have built protocols using these principles. Simply put, our practice is evidenced based. We look at the evidence surrounding a procedure before we implement it into our practice.
If you would like to read more on the evidence acupuncture you can view :
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(1) Definition of science, http://sciencecouncil.org/about-us/our-definition-of-science/ May 29.17