Comparing Acupuncture and Traditional Medicine


Western medicine stethoscope

In recent years, more patients have turned to acupuncture to treat a wide variety of ailments, from arthritis to lower back pain to menopause. Many patients have discovered solutions to medical problems that have plagued them for years. However, they don’t understand why these treatments worked and others didn’t.

First of all, what is acupuncture and how does it compare to traditional Western (or “conventional”) medicine? With so many options out there, how will you know what kind of help to seek out?

Hence, when selecting a treatment, it’s important to know of both Chinese and Western medicinal approaches so that you can choose the right approach for you.

The principles of traditional Chinese Medicine

Chinese medicine uses techniques like acupuncture to address the individual with a holistic, universal approach. This technique addresses the mind and body together, while Western medicine addresses them separately.


Chinese medicine relies on meridians, or energy channels, that run through the body, channeling the body’s energy, known as “qi.” There are twelve meridians:

  • Lung Meridian
  • Pericardium Meridian
  • Heart Meridian
  • Large Intestine Meridian
  • Triple Burner Meridian
  • Small Intestine Meridian
  • Stomach Meridian
  • Gallbladder Meridian
  • Bladder Meridian
  • Spleen Meridian
  • Liver Meridian
  • Kidney Meridian

Acupuncture practitioners insert small, slender needles into the acupoints that lie along these meridians. Depending on the challenges the patient is experiencing, the practitioner decides where to insert the needles. The challenges indicate which acupoints along the meridians have energy blockages.

Acupuncture’s holistic approach is why the practice can treat a variety of ailments. These range from menopause, menstrual, and pregnancy-related symptoms to upper and lower back pain. Many patients have experienced relief through acupuncture benefits. Some of these patients had become frustrated with Western medicine after years of trying with little or no success.

The principles of traditional Western Medicine

Western medicine (or “allopathic medicine”) uses treatments such as drugs and surgeries to treat isolated symptoms in the body. However, pne of the problems with this approach is that it isolates individual problems instead of treating the body and mind as an interdependent system.

Most noteworthy, while the benefits of Western medicine are obvious and numerous, this isolation of medical problems is why many people have taken one drug or undergone one surgery only to come across another immediate problem.

Choosing the treatment that is right for you

In conclusion, practitioners will recommend that you use a personalized combination of medicinal approaches. Therefore, it’s important that you explore every tool that is available to you.

Consulting a local acupuncture practitioner can provide you with personalized information regarding the potential health benefits that acupuncture may have on your life. As the access to different types of treatments increases, practitioners hope that all of us will experience greater health, longevity, and well-being.

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