Choice of: One Consultation with One Acupuncture Treatment One Consultation with Three Acupuncture Treatments The Science of Acupuncture: Pinning Down the Source of Relief Acupuncture can be used to help treat symptoms such as back pain, migraines, and insomnia. Check out Groupon’s exploration of how tiny needles put the body back in harmony. Hair-thin needles are inserted in a line along the right arm, and in the depths of the large intestine energy is freed and digestion becomes easier. That’s the theory, anyway. Acupuncture has a 2,000-year lineage, but science is still grappling to understand how its effects are produced. Traditional Chinese acupuncture theory maps invisible channels for energy—known as chi—on the skin. Practitioners believe that these meridians link the body’s vital organs and that stimulating points along these meridians gets blocked chi flowing and restores balance to the entire system. How does this ancient wisdom link up with modern knowledge of human anatomy? It’s hard to tell, but advanced imaging techniques offer tantalizing hints of how relief might be produced. Doppler ultrasounds have shown that blood flow increases where the needles are inserted. Thermal imaging has revealed that inflammation subsides during treatments, and neuroimaging studies suggest that acupuncture mutes the brain’s pain receptors and releases endorphins. Other doctors have noted that many of the hundreds of acupuncture points across the body correspond with nerve bundles and muscle trigger points, or that they follow major arteries. Whether by simple trial and error or by working from a grand theory of the natural world, ancient Chinese healers may have foreshadowed some of Western medicine’s insights millennia ago.
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