What is Acupuncture?


            “The theories of acupuncture and moxibustion hold that the human body acts as a small universe connected by channels, and that by physically stimulating these channels the practitioner can promote the human body’s self-regulating functions and bring health to the patient.”1 The aforementioned quote is the definition that UNESCO gave to acupuncture in 2010. However, in Quebec the definition is as follows “Acupuncture is the act of stimulating, usually by the means of needles, certain specific sites of the skin, mucous membranes or subcutaneous tissues of the body for the purpose of improving health or relieving pain.”2

            Contrary to popular belief needlework is not the only method used by practitioners to stimulate the body. The method know as Moxibustion uses heat, pressure (through cupping or massage), electrical stimulation (electro-acupuncture) or even light (lumino and chromotherapy). In order to truly subscribe to this therapy, there are diet and lifestyle modifications to be made as well. The choice of stimulation used by the acupuncturist is determined according to the symptom or type of pain that is being treated.

            You might now be asking yourself, ‘why use acupuncture in the first place?’ The stimulation experienced in the session helps improve blood circulation in order to restore the natural balance of the body. Some studies have managed to prove that acupuncture is an effective alternative to conventional pharmacological treatments in specific situations; and has been proven as a beneficial adjunct to therapy in others. Some of these conditions include articulatory disorders, postoperative pain, temporomandibular disorders, stress, various pains or migraines, and even the relief of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.

1.    “UNESCO – Acupuncture and Moxibustion of Traditional Chinese Medicine.” Link to the Intangible Cultural Heritage Website, ich.unesco.org/en/RL/acupuncture-and-moxibustion-of-traditional-chinese-medicine-00425.

2.    “What Is Acupuncture?” The Benefits of Acupuncture | AQQ, www.acupuncture-quebec.com/en/discover-acupuncture/what-is-acupuncture.html.

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