What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of several treatment modalities within traditional Chinese medicine. It involves the insertion of thin, sterile, needles into precise acupuncture points on the body. Acupuncture, along with Chinese tuina medical massage and herbal treatment, works with the natural vital energy of the body, called Qi, to promote the body’s own ability to heal itself. People generally find acupuncture treatments to be relaxing and rejuvenating. All needles used in our clinic are sterile and single use only.

Why Does Acupuncture Work?

The Chinese medical explanation is that there are channels, known as meridians, which are full of Qi, and blood running throughout the body. These channels bring nourishment and vitality to our various organs, muscles, bones, etc. An obstruction in one or part of these channels is like a dam, which reduces that nourishment to that part of the body down stream. By needling acupuncture points, we can unblock the obstruction in the meridians and restore a regular flow of Qi and blood through the meridians. This allows the body to receive the nourishment it needs to heal naturally, rather than through the more invasive use of synthetic drugs and injections via the bloodstream.


According to the National Institute of Health, research has found that acupuncture can increase endorphins, the bodies natural pain killers, and increase blood circulation. Therefore, the injured tissues can recover naturally. Acupuncture can also affect the parts of the central nervous system related to sensation and involuntary body functions such as immune reactions, whereby a person’s blood pressure, blood flow and body temperature are regulated.

What Can Acupuncture Treat?

The World Health Organization lists diseases that respond well to acupuncture. These include many conditions such as pain, depression, anxiety, migraine, fatigue, insomnia, women’s health issues, digestive issues, etc. At Dr Yan Lu’s acupuncture and massage clinic in Portland and Vancouver, he treats a wide variety of conditions; for a more complete list see the specialties section.