Acupuncture is said to have originated in China, and it is certainly in China where it became the sophisticated science it is today. Written texts document the trial and error approach to the refinement of acupuncture and herbalism over several thousand years.  Interestingly enough, when a 5000 year old flash-frozen European man was unearthed in the Italian Alps in 1997, he was found to have tattoos on key acupuncture points relating to lumbar degeneration and upon further examination that was exactly what the man had!  So it can be conjectured that like most great ideas, acupuncture may well have existed over many areas in the world before it’s localization in China.

Acupuncture is the science of qi, or energy.  By using a conductor (a needle or other metal instrument) one can move, transfer, augment, or disperse qi throughout the body. It is arguably the most sophisticated form of energy work on the planet because of the pinpoint precision with which energy can be moved.  There are 14 Meridians which carry qi throughout the body, as well as a sophisticated network of smaller rivers which bathe our organs and tissues in qi.  The blockage or stagnation of qi results in imbalances, which if left untreated over time, can cause the manifestation of physical symptoms and eventually chronic and/or even acute illness.

What is Qi? 

green leafQi is the energy which enervates us. Created daily by the air we breathe and the food we eat, it enables us to digest, to think, to feel, to be. It whispers its breath into our organs, limbs, fingers, and toes. It enlivens us – without qi there may be blood and tissue but there is no life. 

And yet qi is so much more.  Qi may also be equated to the spirit.  It does not die, it is only transformed.  And according to your belief system it is the part of you which lives on after death.  As such qi, and its physical counterpart blood, also holds the essence of who we are.  The interplay of qi, blood, and spirit subtly entwines our life and experiences. Our emotional responses to everything we have encountered in our lifetime imprint on our qi, governing in part its movement through all the body’s networks.

It is this profound body-mind-spirit connection which makes Oriental Medicine one of the finest systems of medicine in existence today. While Western medicine excels at healing the body, acupuncture and herbs heal underlying issues in the spirit and mind as well, so the body is free to heal.  The intrinsic nature* of chronic illness is embedded in the body spirit relationship so profoundly, that without an inclusive approach symptoms frequently persist and deepen.

* See the Intrinsic Nature of Illness