One of the first Eastern traditional healing practices to rise to popularity in the West, acupuncture is one facet of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). It is one of the most traditional uses of the energy meridians, involving the precise application of tiny needles to stimulate and improve energy flow through the body.
What are Energy Meridians?
Most energy work approaches are based on either the Chinese meridian system or the Vedic (Indian) chakras.
Meridians are pathways of life energy – chi, qi, or the Japanese ki – that flow through the body. There are 14 meridians, 12 of which correspond to specific organs and systems in the body. The other two are called “collector” meridians, governing the body’s total energy field.
Although there is no agreement on their medical or anatomical validity, meridians are significant in so far as the strength of a meridian is believed to correspond to the health of the related physical organ – and manipulating or strengthening a meridian will usually have a positive impact on the part of the body it relates to.
Treatment in acupuncture involves the use of tiny, delicate needles that are applied to key acupuncture points on the meridians.
- Acupuncture points are specific points along the meridians that are key in unlocking blockages that may contribute to pain, weakness, or disease.
- Acupuncture has been recommended to help relieve pain, restore hormone balance, ease headaches, boost the immune system, and more.
- Acupuncture needles are inserted a few millimeters into the skin and are typically left in for several minutes during a treatment in order to restore energy flow through the meridians.
- Acupuncture needles are so fine, they can easily slip inside a regular hypodermic needle used for injections or for drawing blood.
- Like hypodermic needles, the needles are meant to be used once and then discarded to avoid contamination.
How Many Sessions Does It Take for Acupuncture to Work?
Depending on the health problem to be addressed or what you hope to achieve, acupuncture will usually show some result within the first session or two, but it may take ten or more sessions to yield results for serious health challenges.
As with any holistic or medical treatment, acupuncture is one valuable piece of the wellness puzzle that works for many people, but is not effective for everyone.
Acupuncture Needles Versus Other Meridian Treatments
Acupuncture may have been the original meridian treatment, but today it is only one of a slew of energy approaches that use the Chinese meridians.
Other approaches involve massaging or tapping the same acupuncture points – then called “acupressure” points – or running hands or magnets along the meridian pathways.