Posts Tagged ‘science’


Acupuncture has a long, storied history, and is useful in treating a wide array of ailments. Unlike medications or cortizone injections, acupuncture does not have a specific function, per se, the way aspirin treats pain, calcium tablets treat excess stomach acid, and antihystamines treat inflammation. Acupuncture is a tool with which to practice Traditional Eastern Medicine, and as such can be effectively used to treat pain, acid reflux, and inflammation depending on where the needles are placed on the body.

Traditional Eastern Medicine is based on principles and concepts that are unverifiable with modern science. This has quite rightly led many people in the west to view acupuncture with skepticism. However, acupuncture and Traditional Eastern Medical concepts have persisted from the miasma of prehistory into the twenty-first century despite modern science’s inability to explain how it works. More people in more regions of the world are enjoying its benefits than ever before, and it is gaining recognition in the medical community as it undergoes more rigorous scientific observationcontrolled clinical trials, as well as good old fashioned empiricism. All this despite no one being able to give a scientific explanation to its mode of operation, to prove how it works.

Traditional Eastern Medicine was developed long before the scientific method, and is not based on a scientific framework as much as it is on a philosophical one. It has been refined as much by court physicians in the great empires of Asia as by “barefoot doctors” wandering from village to village. This is not to say that TEM does not gladly incorporate science, just that it is first and foremost a philosophy based on Nature and Yin and Yang theory. Therefore, it is my belief that we will probably never have a satisfactory scientific explanation of acupuncture and TEM, just as we will never have a scientific explanation of virtue, morality, and music. Although we can certainly describe many facets of these concepts with science, their essence cannot be distilled into a molecular model or mathematical formula. So it is with acupuncture.


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