A great explanation of acupuncture, by Dr. Maureen Murphy, Lake Delton Integrative Medicine Clinic, Lake Delton, Wi.  (Reprinted with permission)

Many people ask how acupuncture works.  Acupuncture (from the Latin acus=needle and puncture=puncture) is a healing modality that originated in China almost 4000 years ago under the Xia Dynasty.  The needles are inserted into “acupuncture points” that are along energy meridians (channels) and are often in clefts between muscle gooves.  Many times pressing these points, particularly if deficient in that meridian’s energy, will cause tenderness.  When the needle hits the point, it will create an ache – this is referred to as achieving “De Qi”.  If the treatment is for an acute injury or trauma, often the needles will be placed in “dispersion” to allow the energy to move out.  When the problem is chronic or long-standing, often the treatment will call for a “tonification” or building up of energy in that meridian.  Tonification can be done with manually rotating the needle while in the point, heating it with a heat lamp or electrical energy.
The kinds of conditions that are amenable to acupuncture are multiple and varied.  The most common reason people come for tretment is pain.  If there is pain from an injury, getting a treatment within 24-48 hours of the inciting trauma will bring about very gratifying results with faster and less painful healing.  However, acupuncture can also be used for irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn, stress, infertility, bladder problems, etc.  The energy meridians run throughout the body so needling will often include the involved site and points in the feet/legs and arms/hands.

Western medicine has evolved in a way that follows the scientific method and can result in a reductionist approach to treatment.  This is, if we can find the smallest cell that is malfunctioning and treat it with medicine or surgery, then all shall be well.  Acupuncture and other complementary approaches see our bodies as units of energy flow. Stuck energy from injury or other trauma can result in disease.  Acupuncture helps open up the energy congestion and restore balance.


Acupuncture is a health science which is used to prevent and treat diseases by a needling method.  For thousands of years it has been accepted by the general population for its natural healing technique, good effect, wide range of indications, safety, etc.  Early Chinese physicians discovered that there is a network (meridian) inside the body.  If the flow of energy is obstructed or overactive, then the body falls ill.  Acupuncture can restore, regulate and normalize the energy flow by inserting hair-thin, disposable needles into the body’s energy pathways.

Scientific research shows that acupuncture can trigger the neurotransmitters to release endorphins, serotonin and norepinephrine, which are essential to good mind-body health.