Acupuncture may be an ancient Chinese practice, but it's only been in the U.S. since the 1970s, and most of us probably don't fully understand what it is or how it works. In other words, what's the point? (Get it?)
While it's still considered an "alternative" form of medicine, it's gaining acceptance in the mainstream as a supplemental treatment for everything from back pain to infertility. Jill Blakeway, founder of the YinOva Center in New York City, says that the practice was based on the idea that we all have channels running through our bodies like rivers. The belief is that the ‘rivers’ get blocked up and acupuncture needles open them again to allow a healthy flow of energy in our bodies.
Today, doctors view it in a less metaphorical way. When a needle goes into a patient, the doctor is accessing the nervous system and it causes the body to release chemicals which will either interrupt the signal of pain or invoke your body’s own healing capabilities.
But isn't the real question, "Does it hurt?" I'd never tried it before, and in general I'm not a fan of needles. Jill Blakeway assured me it's pain free, and that after about five minutes you get an endorphin kick from the sensation.
Was that the case for me? You'll have to watch the video. But she definitely opened my mind to something new…which for Chinese culture is actually very old!
- Alternative Medicine