“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
– Clark’s Third Law
Traditional Chinese Medicine as a Tool
Our understanding of human physiology and biochemistry has not advanced far enough to explain many of the concepts that have emerged from Traditional Chinese Medicine. Like any medicine, it does not have all the answers. However, its theories and treatments that evolved from over 2000 years of observation offer one of the world’s most powerful tools for understanding the inner workings of the human body. Its diagnostic theory of disease makes conventional medicine seem primitive. Combining the two is literally like having magical powers.
Debunking the Inflammation Myth
If there is inflammation, there is something causing it. Suppressing it with natural or convention medicine without finding the cause is like turning off a fire alarm while a building fills with smoke. It’s time to let go of the myth that the immune system creates inflammation for no reason. It is not the result of a “misguided” or “weakened” immune system. These are Santa-Claus-like explanations that have no basis in logic or science. Diseases of inflammation, including most autoimmune disease, always have a root cause that triggers the immune system to act.
Like any medicine, acupuncture is a powerful tool when used appropriately. Used alone it can work miracles for almost any pain or tissue congestion. Used in conjunction with other medicines, it can produce spectacular, lasting results. There are numerous studies, books and articles claiming to explain how acupuncture works. However there are still many mysteries about it that have not been explained. For example, acupuncture alone is capable of reducing clotting or boosting the immune system by altering the levels of blood platelets and lymphocytes. Used with electro-stimulation it can reverse neuropathy. In the west, the U.S. National Institute of Health, the World Health Organization, and the National Health Service of the U.K. endorse acupuncture for the treatment of over 40 conditions. The Wikipedia page on Acupuncture has some wonderful information about the technicalities, procedures and history of acupuncture.
All licensed acupuncturists are strictly regulated in the US and study full-time for a minimum of four years. I completed seven years of study including pre-med and studied alongside M.D.’s from China as well as practitioner from the U.S. Like all legitimate acupuncturists, I only use disposable needles in my practice.
Acupuncture for Stress
Acupuncture is a powerful tool for treating stress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). People often report feeling refreshed, energized, and inspired after treatment. They also report improved sleep. A few years ago, the Department of Defense funded the Air Force Acupuncture Center, which is designed for practice and teaching of “battlefield acupuncture” to physicians and other medical personnel to treat conditions like PTSD.
Another aspect of stress is a condition known as sympathetic overdrive (link to article). This condition is often associated with PTSD and chronic stress. It occurs when the “flight or fight” response of the nervous system remains activated for long periods of time. Because this part of the nervous system reduces blood flow to the digestive system and brain, it can reduce the function of these organs over time. Acupuncture is a wonderful tool for addressing chronic diseases that are caused or exacerbated by sympathetic overdrive.
Acupuncture for Insomnia
There are numerous studies demonstrating the effectiveness of acupuncture for anxiety and insomnia. These conditions are often brought on by overwork or chronic stress. Acupuncture can help bring the brain, nervous system and endocrine system back into equilibrium. A study published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry demonstrated that acupuncture reduced anxiety and insomnia by raising nocturnal melatonin levels. Another study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing demonstrated improved sleep from acupuncture.