Man Plus Tree = Harmony
The legend goes a guy was in the woods and he rubbed his shoulder on a tree, found relief from pain and from that notion acupuncture evolved into what it is today. Ancient needles were made of bone, before man was working with metal. A notable acupuncture patient is Otzi the Iceman. Dated at 5,300 years ago scientists recorded tattoos of around sixty points. Just glancing at the picture its pretty clear he has Zusanli (ST 36), Taixi( K 3) and San Yin Jiao (Sp 6) to name a few. Later points were discovered on his chest and scientists questioned the points relation to their observed pathologies on the Ice Man. I know that points on the chest often related to depression or lung related issues, not sure how you could find those ailments on a 5,300 year old corpse. It astounds me that they concluded the other points fit his observable ailments!
Here is an article about Otzi – http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2015/01/30/scientists-mapped-otzi-icemans-61-tattoos/#.W05WszOZORs
Zusanli, Taixi and San Yin Jiao could make an acupuncturist out of anyone, like one of my teacher mentioned her white grandma knows where it is. The scope of disease this combination covers could be written in a novel and are used in virtually every modern Acupuncturists point combination on a daily basis. 5,300 years later it’s still good!
Wait Where Did the Trees Go?
Fast forward to modern medicine and anyone can pick up a Merck Manual and uncover the complexities of the human body.
The autonomic nervous system controls the bodies involuntary actions, which is why we don’t have to remember to pick up the kids and tell our heart to keep beating. Messages are sent through nerves and neurotransmitters keeping all systems a go.
The earliest discovered neurotransmitter Acetylcholine, has many cells listening for it’s signal in the brain, which will engage the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the key that unlocks why is meditation good for you, prayer, massage, energy work, chiropractic, quiet time, rest, a relaxing walk… And of course Acupuncture! When the body receives signal that it is safe it is allowed to heal. With specific actions within the involuntary organs as listed in the graphic above.
Conversely, we would have never survived as a species if we spent all our time lounging around grooming each other. A bump in the night could mean life or death and it is not a coincidence many kids are afriad of the dark. Younger, smaller, weaker and slower creatures are a predator’s best bet. As mammals, we are programmed to protect our young and our clan with the fight flight response brought on by the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which is also a hormone. Within seconds the heart rate is increased, the digestion and bladder take the backseat.
The problem our society is facing today is we never seem to get out of the fight flight mode. Whether you are getting an unwanted text, watching the news, lying in bed awake, not fitting in last year’s dress or SKIPPING a protein based breakfast our bodies push and push until something’s got to give.
Physical stress is also caused by external toxins and pollutants even sans the unwanted circumstance.
Being as that Acupuncture helps the body return to a sometimes long ago felt state of parasympathetic, what does it treat? Well, anything concerning your autonomic nervous system.
Say Hello to My Little Friend Enkephalin
Acupuncture is getting more and more cred for its side-effect free ability to manage pain. Studies point to the endogenous (inside your body) peptides, endorphins and enkephalin that bind to opioid receptors in the brain being stimulated by acupuncture. Many health insurance plans currently cover Acupuncture, especially when you are being treated for pain.