Many times in my years of practice, I have been asked this question by my patients and also by myself.
How does acupuncture actually work? Is there any science base to it?
To answer that questions, we have to take a look at what science require to meet its standard. When it meets the scientific standard, it means that a practice or an experiment was able to be replicated or the result can be reproduced.
As a practitioner in traditional Chinese medicine, I do find that the clinical outcome can be very effective but the method I use can vary from person to person.
A patient presenting with insomnia and anxiety can be deficient while another person with the same signs and symptoms but being excessive.
Chinese medicine look at the signs and symptoms as a result of imbalance. The imbalance can be from internal imbalance in the patient or the imbalance of a patient and the environment. A treatment in Chinese medicine is not a “cure”but a method to restore and regenerate the balance that was once disturbed.
As there are many researches that prove acupuncture works on many conditions effectively, I still think science can only explain a glimpse how acupuncture works.
When western medicine does meet the standard in science, there are times that we don’t know how it exactly works. Take Lithium for example, it is an effective medication for bipolar depression ,however the mechanism of it is still unknown.
Human body is such a big mystery and a wonder. It’s wise to be modest and humble as we develop in medicine and the understanding of universe.