How Does Acupuncture Work?


Acupuncture is an ancient practice that involves the strategic placement of very fine needles into points on the skin.  These points have an effect on the internal organs and the flow of energy throughout the body along channels or meridians.  This energy that flows through the organs and up and down the meridians is known as Qi (chee).

Acupuncture is used to balance the Qi in the various organs and glands.  If an organ has an excess or a deficiency of energy it is unable to function optimally.  Because all of the organs work together as a team, when one organ is out of balance it will then create imbalances in other organs, if left untreated.

The reason it is so important to keep the Qi balanced in the organs and flowing freely along the meridians is so that the body can function optimally as a whole.  When the organs are balanced and functioning optimally the body can resist disease (physical, mental and emotional), and is more likely to recover from injuries quickly and completely.  When the organs are not functioning at their best, weaknesses are created which allow disease to "enter the body", leaving one more susceptible to illness and injury.  

The organs work together to keep all the cells, tissues, systems, senses, emotions, and each other healthy. The various organs share the workload as follows:



Heart and Pericardium work together

to regulate circulation of the blood, as

well as mental activities. 

Sanjiao regulates the endocrine

hormone system and preserves homeostasis

of the body.  It is responsible for gathering

mucus and other toxins, containing them in the

form of lumps, bumps, cysts and tumors.

​Small Intestine separates the essence

from the waste of food and transports

the latter to the Large Intestine.

The tissues associated with Heart,

Small Intestine, Pericardium

and Sanjiao are blood vessels,

brain and nerves.

The emotion connected with Heart,

Small Intestine, Pericardium

and Sanjiao is joy.

The sense organ controlled by Heart,

Small Intestine, Pericardium

and Sanjiao is the tongue.



Kidneys regulate blood pressure and govern

aging, memory, sex drive, reproduction and

vital energy.

Urinary Bladder controls water circulation.

The tissues associated with the kidneys and

urinary bladder are bones,  joints, cartilage,

teeth, nails, and head hair.

The emotions connected with the kidneys and 

urinary bladder are anxiety, fear, and worry.

The sense organs controlled by the kidneys and 

urinary bladder are the ears.



Liver stores and regulates blood, secretes

bile, and transports blood, bile and hormones.

Gall Bladder stores bile and controls

mental activities.                                    

The tissues associated with Liver and Gall

Bladder are muscle, tendon, and nails.

The emotions connected with the Liver and

Gall Bladder are anger and frustration.

The sense organs controlled by the Liver and

Gall Bladder are the eyes.



Lungs regulate respiration and blood circulation.

Large Intestine excretes waste.

The tissues associated with the Lungs and Large

Intestine are skin, body hair, and nails.

The emotions connected with the Lungs and Large

Intestine are sadness, grief and loss.

The sense organ controlled by the Lungs and Large

Intestine is the nose.



Spleen regulates digestion, metabolism

and the immune system, as well as

blood circulation.  (Allergies are an

indication of a Spleen imbalance.) 

Stomach regulates ingestion, digestion,

and transportation of food and liquids.

The tissues associated with Spleen

and Stomach are all soft tissues and

the four limbs.

The emotions connected with the Spleen

and Stomach are all emotions.

The sense organ controlled by the Spleen

and Stomach is the mouth.


As you can see it is in one's best interest to keep the organs balanced and functioning optimally.  Exposure to everyday, modern life (stress, pollution and inadequate nutrition) is all it takes to create an imbalance in one or more of the organs.  Here are some examples of how imbalances in the organs can cause one to become ill or susceptible to injury:  

(1)  A stressful job may cause one to feel frustrated or angry.  These emotions then create an imbalance in the liver or gall bladder which then expresses itself in the form of tension, pain, or weakness of the muscles, and perhaps eye disorders.    (2)  Worrying over finances or the fate of a loved one may cause one to begin to suffer from joint disease, blood pressure irregularities, and graying or loss of hair, all a result of imbalanced kidneys created by the emotions of fear and anxiety.    (3)  Pollution, which can create an imbalance in any of the organs, may throw the lungs into a state of imbalance which can surface in the form of a skin problem and/or depression.  

(4)  An imbalance in the heart created by imbalances in other organs can cause one to suffer from a lack of joy.  Or, a work-a-holic who denies oneself joy may suffer from heart disease, or insomnia due to excessive mental activity at bedtime (a symptom of a heart imbalance).   

Although we are continually exposed to a variety of toxins and situations that create imbalances in the vital organs, there is no reason to fret.  We do have a way to keep small imbalances from becoming larger, problematic ones.  A healthy diet*, regular exercise, receiving acupuncture treatments or other energetic therapies as a regular form of maintenance, and last but certainly not least, keeping a positive attitude will help you to maintain healthy balanced organs for a healthy balanced life.  

As for explaining why it is that sticking needles into points along invisible meridians has an effect on the organs, the scientific world cannot yet explain.  All we know is that it works, and we can be thankful that it is so.  Why wouldn't our bodies be equipped with such a system?

We can see the effects of energy, yet we cannot see the energy itself.  By witnessing its effects we know that energy exists.        

*  A truly healthy diet consists of plenty of fresh fruit (eaten on an empty stomach), vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes.  Animal products, if eaten, should be limited, and free of growth hormones and/or antibiotics.  Fresh fruit juice and purified water are healthy alternatives to soft drinks.  It is best to abstain from processed foods and drinks.