***This is a series of articles written by Chris Kresser, I’m posting them here because I have yet to find a better commentary on the modern understanding of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. If you enjoy his writing, you can visit him at chriskresser.com.***
What if I told you that nearly everything we’ve been taught in the West about how Chinese medicine works isn’t accurate? What if I told you that Chinese medicine isn’t a woo-woo, esoteric “energy medicine” at all, but instead a functional, “flesh and bones” medicine based on the same basic physiology as western medicine? And what if I told you I could explain the mechanisms of Chinese medicine in simple, familiar terms that any eight-year-old could understand and even the most sceptical, conservative doctor couldn’t argue with?
The “energy meridian” model that has become the default explanation of Chinese medicine US is not only out of sync with our modern, scientific understanding of the body – it’s also completely inconsistent with classical Chinese medical theory. In other words, we’ve made up our own western version of Chinese medicine that has little to do with how it was understood and practised since it began more than 3,000 years ago in China.
In Parts I – III of the series, I explain how the mistaken “energy meridian” model of understanding acupuncture came to prominence in the US, and I replace it with a model that is more historically accurate and consistent with modern science. Part IV summarizes what we know about how acupuncture contributes to healing from a biomedical perspective, and Part V goes into more detail about how acupuncture relieves pain. Finally, in Part VI I discuss the advantages of acupuncture and Chinese medicine over western medicine as a primary healthcare modality.
I hope you enjoy the series!
- Kendall, Donald, The Dao of Chinese Medicine, Oxford University Press, 2002
- Biomedical Acupuncture for Pain Management, by Yun-Tao Ma, Mila Ma & Zang Hee Cho
- The Dao of Chinese Medicine, by Donald Kendall
- The Biology of Acupuncture, by George Ulett & Songping Han
- The Neuroimmune Basis of Anti-inflammatory Acupuncture, by Ben Kavoussi & Evan Ross
- Acupuncture in Medicine Journal (part of British Medical Journal)