How The Heck Does Acupuncture Work?

What do a garden hose and acupuncture have in common? (Hint: It’s not a bad joke.)

Every molecule in the universe is made up of energy (thanks, Einstein!). That includes every cell in our body. Essentially, we are all little balls of energy walking around on the planet.

The Chinese word for energy is Qi (pronounced “chee”). According to Chinese medicine, disease is caused by a block or stagnation of energy or “Qi” in the body.

Picture a garden hose. (Stay with me…)

When there’s a kink in the hose, water cannot flow freely. Pressure builds on one side of the kink and is completely absent on the other side. If you release the hose, the water flows freely again.

Now imagine 14 garden hoses hooked end to end and arranged neatly throughout your body. Each hose is connected to and associated with a major organ. Can you see how a kink in one hose can affect all the other hoses? It’s like a big game of dominoes! (Oops, wrong metaphor.)

Let me back up a bit.

Western doctors know and science tells us that our organs work together in an unbelievably well-choreographed symphony  to keep us alive and functioning. (Ever thought about how your body digests food without you telling it to? Blows my mind.)

All these little things happening in our body with or without our knowledge — hormones releasing, food digesting, hair growing, heart pumping, muscles building — it’s all because of Qi.

When the water (or Qi) is flowing freely through all 14 hoses, all our organs are communicating effectively and doing their job and we are healthy.

It’s when we get a kink in a hose that pain or disease shows up.

So how do we un-kink the hose? How do we get that energy moving so that it flows freely again?


Well, what’s a good conductor of energy? Metal! And what are acupuncture needles made of? You got it! Metal.

By inserting needles at certain points along the garden hose — or, “meridian” as we call it in Chinese medicine —  the Qi is conducted from one point to the other, thus restoring the smooth flow of Qi in the body.

So, how does the kink get there in the first place?

Qi can be “kinked” or disrupted by physical and emotional trauma, stress, lack of exercise, over-exertion, seasonal changes, poor or contaminated diet, excessive exposure to wind, damp, cold or heat.

The main goal of Chinese medicine is to restore the flow of Qi in the body, bringing it back into balance so it may repair itself.

Another added benefit is that acupuncture needling releases natural, morphine-like substances in the body that increase the pain threshold and provide an analgesic effect that can be up to ten times more potent than morphine!

So, not only does acupuncture heal the body, but it feels amazing, too! 🙂

Take action!

Leave a comment below and tell me if you liked my garden hose analogy. Are there any other questions you have about how acupuncture works? I would love to hear from you and give you answers!

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Photo credit: pw1968

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