Western Medical Acupuncture has evolved from traditional Chinese acupuncture. It uses many of the same techniques, but is based around modern Western understanding of how the body works rather than on the ancient Chinese principles of health and disease.
Medical Acupuncture supports the use of proper evidence based treatments and research into how acupuncture works.
Acupuncture can relieve pain, decrease inflammation, relax muscles, and help with a number of specific medical conditions. Studies have shown that acupuncture can have both local effects, such as improving bladder and bowel function, and wider (systemic) effects such as reduced flushes in menopause and improved sleep. Acupuncture can produce hormonal effects too, and so is now being used to treat some fertility problems.
Researchers have also found that acupuncture can affect most of the body’s systems - the nervous system, muscles, hormone output, circulation, antibody production and allergic responses, as well as the respiratory, digestive, urinary and reproductive systems and skin.
There are a number of physiological processes involved. The basic idea is that stimulating acupuncture points can:
Release specific chemicals and hormones that reduce pain and increase well-being. These include endorphins and serotonin.
Increase blood flow, which can aid healing.
Influence the endocrine system, and so help with hormonal problems.
Stimulate the nerves that send messages from the brain to the body, and back.
Reduce pain messages within the brain and spine.