Blog# 43 An Introduction to Acupuncture and Qi
Acupuncture, an ancient system of Asian medicine, can address many health issues and also help optimize mental and physical functioning and comfort. Especially well-known as a method of pain control, acupuncture can also help improve hearing and eyesight, help injuries heal more quickly than they otherwise would, calm the mind and emotions, improve blood and lymphatic circulation, relax muscle spasm, help relieve some types of constipation and diarrhea, relieve and prevent sinus and other respiratory infections, alleviate headaches, help regulate blood sugar, strengthen the immune system, and much more.
Acupuncture works with Qi, also spelled “chi”, which is a concept and energy for which Western medicine has no precise equivalent. Qi can direct blood and lymph flow, allows internal organs to function more healthfully and efficiently, relax muscles, help the immune system function in a balanced and harmonious way, and help the mind function more effectively. Qi runs in channels (also referred to as meridians) in the body which connect internal organs, muscles, skin and bone. Qi has both magnetic and electrical qualities. When you receive an acupuncture treatment, if you keep your mind totally quiet and just focus on the needles and your body, you may be able to sense tingling, mild fasciculation, warming or cooling of certain areas of the body, and sometimes even a lightness or heaviness of limbs or of the body in general. These feelings are due to the presence and movement of Qi, which is a mental as well as a physical energy.
Acupuncture includes several different types of techniques which all work with specific points and channels. In addition to needling, acupuncture includes massage (acupressure and tui na), cupping (creating suction over larger, flat areas of the body by using one or more cup-like apparatus), and moxibustion (the skilled and very specific use of heat usually generated by burning the herb mugwort).
One of my favorite uses of acupuncture is to help improve the circulation to and from the nasal sinuses and the other sinuses in the head. The improvement of circulation results in less sinus congestion and fewer infections. Some people have been able to feel the direction of Qi flow in the body during a treatment, and eventually have been able to help improve and regulate Qi flow with their minds. These fortunate people need fewer treatments than most of us, and often can learn to regulate their sinus health most of the time.
This blog’s offer: at your request, during an acupuncture treatment I will help you become more aware of Qi sensations.