Acupuncture: The Process & How It Works

July 24, 2015 | by Ingrid Ng

Acupuncture has been practiced as a part of traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, and has become widely accepted in North America due to its drug-free effectiveness in treating many different acute or chronic conditions, including infertility, depression, migraines, and even colds and flu.

The understanding of how acupuncture works has evolved over the centuries with modern practice, but the main function of the treatment has been retained.  That function is to stimulate anatomical points on the body, activating a self-healing mechanism that releases chemicals to reduce pain, increase blood flow, and regulate the nervous, hormonal and circulatory systems.

Acupuncture - Traditional Chinese Medicine

But how does it work?

History dictates that the original tools used in acupuncture may have been made of sharp stones, fishbones, or bronze.  Apparently these old tools were not inserted into the skin, but rather pressed against it, as even in 3000 B.C., physicians of the time clearly understood that the stimulation of certain points on the body could prompt a healing response.

How is this so?  Well, your essential life energy, or qi, flows through your body via channels called meridians, and each of these is connected to a specific internal organ.  When the flow of a qi is blocked or has an imbalance, it can result in pain or illness.

An acupuncturist inserts hair-thin needles, made from stainless steel and measuring one-hundredth of an inch in diameter, into the skin into precise anatomical points, known as “acupuncture points”, that run along these meridians.  The stimulation of these acupuncture points releases the blockages or helps to restore balance, and promotes again the smooth, free flow of qi.  As acupuncture normalizes this life force and balances the body, health can be restored.


An acupuncturist’s level of skill, precision and technique determines the outcome of an acupuncture treatment.  Firstly, the skin is sterilized before any needles are inserted.  Good needling technique is defined by the sensation or stimulated inner feeling that is derived after needle insertion, and achieving this sensation is crucial to successful acupuncture effect as it marks the accuracy of the point inserted.

This stimulation is also crucial for the body to actively heal. When the needle is inserted, it has to be precise enough to stimulate the acupuncture point to start the healing process. Nothing or minimal effect would result if any other point is targeted.  Accuracy is everything in acupuncture technique!

As part of the acupuncture treatment process at S.I.T., we properly dispose of all needles after each use.  Every needle is single-use, sterile, and disposable. This ensures a sanitary environment at all times.

Acupuncture Points - SIT Acupuncture

Drug-free with no side effects, acupuncture is a useful treatment method by itself, or in conjunction with other therapies, for many conditions.  At S.I.T. Acupuncture, our highly-trained team of licensed and experienced Toronto acupuncturists is skilled at precise and fine needling techniques that will help to increase stimulation, ensuring effective treatment and long-lasting relief from acute or chronic conditions.

For additional information on the acupuncture process, or to book an appointment, contact us today.


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