It works quite well!
Really, when people ask this question, what they really want to know is “Will it work for me?” That’s a valid question.
Most of us really aren’t interested in how acupuncture works, just as we aren’t interested in the internal workings of the medications we take. We want the problem to either go away or stop being a bother. Most of us don’t care how the car engine works either; we just want to get to the grocery store. We don’t care about how. We care about results.
Will acupuncture work for you?
It can, and quite well too. That said, it is helpful to keep a few things in mind.
Many of us Westerners think acupuncture is either pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo or a miracle cure. It’s neither. Our unfamiliarity with it easily leads us to imagine it’s either a one-and-done treatment or wishful thinking. The truth lies elsewhere. Acupuncture is a process. It usually takes some time and requires a bit of participation on your part.
Acupuncture will not break a habit for you, but it can help you move more smoothly through the process of change by reducing the anxiety that always shows up whenever our current state of homeostasis is challenged.
It will not cause your metabolism or physiology to work against the laws of chemistry or physics. But it will help to strengthen certain organ functions, which in time can change your present trajectory.
You don't need to believe in acupuncture for it to work, though it’s helpful to have an open and inquiring mind. Then find a skilled practitioner and give the treatments enough time to make a difference.
You don’t need to be Chinese to practice acupuncture. Ethnicity is not destiny — anyone can learn it, just as anyone can learn Western medicine if you apply yourself. However, it does require enough time and practice to understand acupuncture from the perspective of Chinese medicine.
Acupuncture does not have to hurt to be effective. There often is some sensation in an acupuncture treatment but most would not call it pain.
Acupuncture doesn’t put anything into the body. Instead, it calls out the body’s own innate healing capabilities. Any healing you get with acupuncture comes not from without, but from within. It’s not a miracle. We all have a blueprint for maintenance, repair and rejuvenation baked into us. Acupuncture works with that.
Acupuncture can drop you into a deep pool of stillness and quietude. Again, this is not something outside of you, but deeply within you. Any sense of peace, integration and contentment you get from acupuncture is not dependent on acupuncture; it is a part of you that is becoming reawakened. That feeling is always within you, and always available.
How does acupuncture do that? It does it quite well!