A subtle energy animates the human body. In the West, we call it life force. In Chinese medicine, we call it Qi.
For thousands of years, Chinese practitioners have known that Qi constantly circulates throughout the body, as blood does, and can be traced along defined paths that we call meridians.
When a person is healthy, Qi moves freely. When stress or anxiety, physical trauma, illness, or pain are present, they are reflected in the body by a slowing, a stagnation, or even a blockage of the flow of Qi. An ancient Chinese saying captures this central concept of Chinese medicine: "Where there is pain, there is no free flow. Where there is free flow, there is no pain."
What Acupuncture Feels Like
Hundreds of decades ago, acupuncturists used needles made of sharpened chips of stone. Now, high-tech stainless steel needles as thin as a single hair are manufactured under rigid sterile conditions, to be used only once.
When these minute instruments are inserted, the patient may notice a sensation of warmth, tingling, or fullness, as the Qi moves in response. Other sensations reported by acupuncture patients are feelings of relaxation and wellbeing, both during and after treatment.
When activated, certain acupuncture points can produce profound
relaxation, even sleep, within minutes. It is possible, by continuous stimulation of certain combinations of points, to anesthetize a patient for surgery, or a dental procedure. Such dynamic effects reveal the potency of this gentle healing art.
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Copyright © 2013 by Marie A. Yahner.
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