What Is Acupuncture?

Submitted by Corie Kovach, MD, FACOG, MBA

Acupuncture originated in China thousands of years ago and it involves inserting very fine needles into the skin in specific locations. It is used as a complementary and alternative treatment for multiple physical and mental ailments, including chronic pain, autoimmune conditions, and drug and alcohol addiction. The Chinese have used acupuncture for centuries, but not until recently has it become a common practice in Western countries as well. 

The idea of “Qi” is essential to the fundamentals of acupuncture and Chinese medicine and yet difficult to define by Western culture. Everything in the universe is composed of and defined by its Qi—its vital energy of a sort—and the Qi permeates the body. Each being’s True Qi comes from three sources. We inherit our Original (or Prenatal) Qi from our parents at conception. This Yuan-Qi is responsible for our inherited constitutional “genetic make-up”. Our nutrition is the second source known as the Grain-Qi or Gu-Qi (pronounced like the fancy handbag, Gucci). The third is Natural Air Qi, or Kong-Qi, which our lungs extract from the air. There is no place that our body does not have True Zhen-Qi and no place that it does not penetrate.

Qi has five major functions in the body and is responsible for the physical integrity of any entity as well as for its transformations.

1. Qi is the source of all movement in the body

2. Qi protects the body

3. Qi is the source of harmonious transformation in the body

4. Qi governs the retention of body’s substances and organs

5. Qi warms the body

Pathologies and disease processes occur when there are disharmonies of the Qi, such as a deficient qi, a collapsed qi, a stagnant qi, or a rebellious qi.

Meridians are channels that carry the Qi throughout the body, and therefore regulate Yin and Yang. The meridians connect the interior of the body with the exterior. Working with points on the surface of the body will affect what goes on inside the body is the principle of acupuncture theory because it affects the activity of the substances that are traveling through the Meridians. The Meridian system is made up of 14 major Meridians. Additionally, there are a total of 365 classical individual acupuncture points on the surface Meridians. With the inclusion of ear and scalp and other miscellaneous and new points used, there are over 2000 points in use presently.

Acupuncture rebalances bodily disharmonies by using the insertion of very fine needles into points along the Meridians. The needles bring balance by decreasing what is excessive, increasing what is deficient, circulating what is stagnant, moving what is congealed, cooling what is hot, warming what is cold, etc. Another technique often used is called moxibustion, which is burning a substance, mugwort, at the acupuncture points multiple times, typically.

Several reasons may explain why acupuncture is such an effective therapy for so many maladies. The gate theory suggests that stimulation from the needles “jams” the lower nerve bundles in the CNS so that other pain signals cannot pass through to the brain. Another theory suggests that acupuncture needle insertion stimulates endorphin release which is responsible for improved pain relief. Research continues.

Come improve your overall wellbeing at Ohio Holistic Healthcare. We offer services in Acupuncture by Dr. Corie Kovach who trained in acupuncture at Harvard Medical School 2016-2017.

OHHC also offers medical cannabis, therapeutic massotherapy, reiki, myofascial release, and trigger point therapy. Call for an appointment today at 440-340-1970.