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Healthy Cells is a local health magazine with most of the articles written by local professionals. People love to read about healthcare from their local health professionals. Each month includes a wide variety of articles on various topics.
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Acupuncture Demystified

The first time that an acquaintance told me that I should try acupuncture, I’m pretty sure that I thoughtlessly rolled my eyes, like a teenage girl. After years of wrestling with interstitial cystitis, the idea of moving my “qi” through energetic meridians seemed, at best, silly — and at worst, fraudulent.

After suffering through many months of more pain and exhausting all of my conventional medical options, I yielded to my skepticism and decided to give acupuncture a try. At this point, I was frustrated with the persistence of my condition, and felt I had nothing to lose by giving it a go.


After just one treatment, my pain, which had been dogging me for years, was eased by half. I felt better walking out of that treatment than I had in years — calmer, more relaxed, and more connected with my body. After eight total treatments, my pain had vanished, and ten years later, it has never returned.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a traditional model of medicine, originating in Ancient China, dating back to over 3,000 years. This Asian healing art was originally used by royalty to prolong youthful looks, fertility, and life span. Today, modern scientific study and medical imaging continue to validate the principals of this traditional system of healing, helping to reveal why it’s remained so popular in the far East for many centuries.


Ancient Chinese physicians observed that when a person was ill, that illness would manifest itself in pain along certain points in the body. When these points were stimulated with needles, the pain diminished, and frequently, the body began to heal. Today, we know that these points contain a high concentration of sensory fibers, blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, and mast cells, and are distributed along longitudinal pathways of the body.


There are over 300 of these points on the body. Acupuncturists stimulate these points in combination to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, restore homeostasis, reduce stress, and to stimulate the body’s own mechanisms of healing.


From a modern Western perspective, diseases are understood to be caused by a breakdown of the immune system, metabolic failure, changes in DNA structure, or an invasion of microorganisms. Many of these diseases can be resolved at a cellular level, but in some cases, diseases become chronic because the body’s normalizing mechanisms have been defeated or weakened. Poor nutrition and stress are two examples of factors that can weaken these normalizing mechanisms, leading to a diminished immune system if uncorrected.


When an acupuncture needle is inserted, it stimulates the body’s nervous system, transmitting signals along the nerves and emitting a variety of biochemicals that influence other cells of the body. The nervous system is connected to the hormonal system via the adrenal gland, and it makes connections to every biological system of the body. In this way, acupuncture is truly a “holistic” medicine.

What can acupuncture treat?

A friend recently asked me: what sort of conditions can acupuncture can treat? Many people are surprised to hear about the broad array of illnesses and issues that can be treated by an acupuncturist: migraines, post stroke rehabilitation, post-operative pain, nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, depression, anxiety, allergies, pain, arthritis, sprains, IBS, gastritis, autoimmune diseases, morning sickness, and so on! The truth is that most diseases and conditions, whether chronic or acute, will benefit from restoring homeostatic balance to the body.

Michelle Pawley is a board certified acupuncturist with a graduate degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine from The Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College, Berkeley. Her office is located at 1617 E. Oakland Ave, Bloomington. For more information or to set up a consultation, call her at 309-445-1502, or visit her online at bnacupuncture.com.



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