A Training, Treatment, Research, & Publication Center for Acupuncture

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a traditional healing art that involves the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body. In this way, acupuncture treatments stimulate the body's innate healing mechanisms to cure ailments and relieve pain by balancing the essential qualities of Yin and Yang. It is based on the principles that there is a nervous system connection between internal organs and the points on the body's surface. When an organ is dis-eased, a corresponding point on the body becomes tender, swollen, or even discoloured. When the ailment is cured, regardless of the system of medicine used, the reactive point disappears. Conventional doctors use this principle as a diagnostic tool while acupuncturists use these points for treatment with needles or more modern techniques such as laser therapy.

Evidence of Need

Today we are witnessing a tremendous worldwide interest in this healing art on account of its potential for minimizing human suffering to an extent which has not been hitherto possible, at least during the last few centuries. As per one recent study, it has been found that out of five Americans, three partake in some form of complementary or alternative medicine without informing their physician. Of all systems of alternative medicine available to man, acupuncture is being recognized as the most promising in the field, because not only is it able to effectively treat a large variety of common disorders, but it also is gaining scientific recognition. Many physicians from every school of medicine are interested in getting trained in acupuncture for this reason. Traditional Chinese medicinal herbs, food cures, manipulating techniques and exercises are gaining in popularity all over the world. An added impetus has been the official recognition by the World Health Organization and the formation of the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia as a part of a global strategy to provide adequate health care to everyone at a lower cost and with utmost safety.


Thanks to the work of notable researchers like Zhang Xiang-Tong of the People's Republic of China, Ronald Melzack and Bruce Pomeranz of Canada, John Bonica and Robert Becker of the US, Victor Adamenko and the Kirlians of the USSR, and numerous others, there has been an exponential surge in our scientific understanding of Acupuncture and TCM over the last few decades. The horrendous complications produced iatrogenically in recent times make it all the more imperative to explore methods like acupuncture that utilize the body's own healing mechanisms to cure ailments.

Acupuncture also is eminently applicable also in such modern situations as submarine missions, off-shore oil rigs, polar research missions and space travel, where groups of persons are cut off from the rest of the world for prolonged periods.

The World Health Organization at the Inter regional Seminar, Beijing 1979, drew up a the provisional list of disorders that lend themselves to acupuncture treatment.

The theoretical concepts of traditional medicine were based on an explanation of the cosmos in terms of the universal Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang. According to this philosophy, there is a dynamic struggle in the Universe between opposing and unifying forces. Man being part of the universe, all laws that apply to the Universe must apply to him, and his health is determined by the fluctuation of these forces. Basically, it is a homeostatic or regulatory concept of health and disease. In the healthy state where Yin and Yang are in balance, normal vital energy (or "Qi" which flows through the channels of the body) is produced. An excess or deficiency of Yin or Yang produces an imbalance of this vital energy and therefore disease.

The discovery of the endorphin mechanism appears to be a promising lead in explaining some effects of acupuncture. In the meantime all critical observers will concede that acupuncture is useful in curing or alleviating the vast majority of disorders. The clinical results achieved are overwhelming and the side effects are minimal. Of course acupuncture is not a panacea for all human ills. But in the hands of a sensible person the needle does really work wonders. One fourth of the human race has been employing acupuncture even before history was written. There is no reason why we should not continue to use it, on an empirical basis, till a fuller explanation is discovered. With the upward surge of health costs the world over, there is little doubt that acupuncture and other forms of alternative medicines will occupy an increasingly important place in the relief of human suffering. It is gratifying to see that the young practitioner of today are adopting an holistic approach to health, discarding the tunnel vision of an earlier conservative generation of practitioners.


How does it Work?

Scientists have proven that at the level of the spinal cord acupuncture releases enkephalins and dynorphins, which help to relieve pain. There is also an activation of periaquenductal gray matter that leads to secretion of monoamines, serotonin and norepinephrine. In addition, there is involvement of the pituitary hypothalamic region and the autonomic nervous system. Much research has been carried out, and continues to be devoted to unravelling this complex neurophysiological phenomenon that helps to explain how acupuncture assists in the treatment of Parkinson's Disease, Depression, Insomnia, Motor function recovery and many other disorders.