Understanding Acupuncture From A Western Point Of View

We all try to understand new concepts by trying to fit these novel ideas into our existing mental framework. Sometimes, this does not work. For some people acupuncture is one of the treatments that doesn’t easily fit into ideas we already own. During my first year of graduate school, I remember struggling with trying to understand acupuncture from a Western point of view; then I surrendered and learned about TCM from an Eastern view and it all began to make sense to me. In the several years since I entered grad school, as studies figure out more and more about the scientific ways that acupuncture works, understanding from a Western point of view becomes more possible. I recently read an article that tries to explain acupuncture and does a good job. Here’s a small excerpt.

“Scientists have worked to elucidate the mechanisms by which yoga, meditation, and various dietary interventions may work on the cells of the body, but there is something fundamentally more ancient-feeling about the language of acupuncture. Go to the NIH’s website on complementary and alternative medicine (NCCAM), and even here you’ll find a discussion that involves qi, yin, yang, and meridians.
Is it possible to discuss acupuncture in a way that makes sense to even the most Westernized brains? The short answer is yes — but with the caveat there there is no single unifying explanation for how it works.”

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Comments 2

  1. I thought the Atlantic article was pretty shallow. an interesting thread of research can be found by looking up articles with Helen Langevin as author or co-author.<br /><br />The fundamental idea is that connective tissues are eletro-conductive, and carry signals from a point that is treated. this satisfies the question of why superficial (~1mm) needle insertion is effective.<br />Tom Hurrle

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