Chinese vs. Biomedical
There are two schools of acupuncture - one needs to combine the two philosophies for optimal treatment.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM):
It can be effective but it is prescientific and works with empirical meridians without explaining why those points are effective. It reportedly restores homeostasis (balance) and allows flow of healing body energy (qi). It’s less specific, and the treatment doesn't always directly target the symptoms. The problem with classic folk medicine is that its theories are static and based on thousands of years old dogma. It mainly emphasizes homeostatic balance and unblocking qi (free-flowing energy) as a treatment for all diseases.
It's dynamic and welcomes new perspectives and is based in science. It develops new goals, is pathology specific, demolishes dogma, and continues to refine the practice through research data. It treats specific symptoms, yet, still it retains the “big picture.” As with TCM, it looks at the general perspective, and overall health and balance of patients. It also improves self-healing potential.
Acupuncture does not interfere with the body’s natural processes. Rather, it improves homeostasis and normalizes body functions. In this way it promotes self-healing. The lesions stimulate physiological processes which can involve endorphin release, anti-inflammatory responses, hormonal balancing, and regeneration of fresh tissue. In treating pain, it can loosen adhesions, scar tissue and relax contractures. It is also helpful in non-pain conditions such as sinusitis and headaches, and its relaxing benefit may even help insomnia and anxiety.
Visit the Science page for in-depth information.