The most frequent question I am asked at The Acupuncture Wellness Center is how does acupuncture work? The answer to how acupuncture works depends on what you are treating. Although there is no one simple answer I will say that the acupuncture needles do one of the following:
1. Acupuncture needles affect the muscles and tissue that need treating directly.
2. Acupuncture needles promote or inhibit specific functions of the central nervous system.
Acupuncture needles affect muscles needing treatment.
An example of an acupuncture needle affecting a muscle needing treatment would be after an auto accident or sport injury and a muscle goes into a hypertonic (super tight) state that prevents a full range of motion and causes pain. The needle may be inserted directly to the focal point of the injury and release the muscle tightness upon contact. After releasing muscle tightness,the pain is relieved. This is most commonly known as a trigger point release.
Acupuncture needles promote functions of the central nervous system.
An example of an acupuncture needle promoting a function of the central nervous system would be when needles are used to increase circulation in a specific area. This is the primary goal when treating infertility and preparing women for In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) procedures. Acupuncture is the only known procedure that can effectively increase circulation to the ovaries and uterus. It does this by creating a histamine reaction whereby the central nervous system recognizes a foreign object in the body and immediately starts scanning the area via increased blood flow and enhanced nerve activations. Since the needles are sterile, no further reaction is necessary, but the benefits of increased circulation and activated nerves are endless.