How acupuncture works

“An acupoint tends to become tender when its associated organ is unusually stressed, and each acupoint on that organ’s meridian tends to be associated with a particular aspect of the organ’s function or its physical condition, so one or more acupoints may be affected.

“A small electrical current flows through the tissue of each organ, which enables all details related to the organ’s function to be reflected in a wave upon this current. When the organ is stressed, this changes the electrical wave, which change is propagated throughout the body’s general connective tissue network, but is also filtered so that a specific organ’s information has an enhanced effect on the tract of tissue that corresponds with that organ’s meridian (p.343). Bodily tissue can interpret organ information conveyed on an electromagnetic wave, and it is this ability that causes the local tissue at key acupoints to reflect the related organ’s state.

“When the organ is stressed in any way, it is this mechanism that causes the local tissue at its key acupoints to also fail to function normally (i.e. to adopt a similar stress to that in the organ). Hence the location becomes tender, or reddened, or cold to the touch, and so on.

“When that location is stimulated, particularly when needled, this tends to return the local tissue to its normal function. It is possible that this is achieved simply by the stimulation causing the local tissue to relax. This effect can be readily noted in clinic. When a patient has stiff muscles at any location, whether on a meridian or not, and an acupuncture needle is inserted, the tissue normally relaxes immediately.

“When the tissue at a key acupoint is caused to relax, this effect is duplicated in the organ, which returns to normal function. And while the organ is transforming from its stressed state, back to normal function, this transformation is also reflected at the stimulated acupoint (and sometimes elsewhere along the same meridian), and I believe this is the explanation for the typical “needle sensa-tion” (known as “de chi” in Chinese medi-cine). The sensation is proportional to the amount of stress in the organ, and when an organ is functioning normally, if a related acupoint is needled, it can be extremely difficult to obtain any needling sensation at all (since there is no transformation to invoke in the organ, and it is that transformation that produces the sensation).

“How is the communication from acupoint to organ achieved? This is harder to define, but the following is this book’s current hypothesis.

“A resonance exists between each organ and its related meridian and acupoints, and I believe it is probably this same resonance that is responsible for the reverse communication, from a stimulated acupoint back to its organ. This can be visualized as follows.

“It is clear that organ information is con-veyed on an electromagnetic wave; and this same mechanism may have been present throughout the body from the stage in early evolution when the primitive organ systems began evolving. It is now known that real-time microscopic changes take place in the local tissue at key acupoints to reflect the varying state of the related organ. It is therefore possible that such changes have been present at every location in the body since early evolution. If this is the case, the local tissue at key acupoints may have evolved an habitual, dynamic pattern that reflects the normal functioning of its related organ. And it may be that such tissue also evolved to only work properly while exposed to this same habitual pattern of normal organ function in the electromagnetic wave that the tissue is “bathed” in.

“When that organ now becomes stressed, this projects a different pattern onto the local tissue at its key acupoints, which disrupts the function of that tissue, causing the anomalies routinely seen in a Chinese medicine clinic (tenderness and so on). When the acupoint is stimulated (particularly when needled), this causes the local tissue to revert to its habitual pattern. And this changing pattern (from the stressed state, back to its normal state) is also immediately propagated around the body on the same electromagnetic wave. When this changing pattern (which is specific to one organ) reaches the associated organ, this persuades the organ to also adopt that same change, and it reverts to normal function. This may happen simply because the tissue in the organ wants to function normally (in the way it has habitually done for millennia), and the electrical wave pattern guides the way, since the information in the wave is transforming from the stressed state, back to the normal state (just as happened at the stimulated acupoint).”

The above passage is taken from my book: Secrets of the Hidden Vessels. The book describes this hypothesis in detail and also translates and clearly explains the key aspects of Chinese medicine, using terms and concepts that can be understood by today’s readers. Sample chapters can be downloaded here.