How Acupuncture Actually Works: A Doctor Explains

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Dr. Taz Bhatia, MD, is a board-certified physician and professor at Emory University who specializes in integrating mainstream medicine with holistic practices. Learn how to treat PCOS, endometriosis & more in her new mindbodygreen class, The Doctor’s Guide to Hormonal Imbalance.

Quackery. Voodoo. Soft Science. These are just a few of the words I've heard people use to describe acupuncture.

During my training to become a physician, I was taught (maybe brainwashed) that the only real medicine is one that passes the test of double-blind trials and abides by the "standard of care."

But years of working with patients have showed me that these standards can sometimes fail to provide answers for certain ongoing health issues. I've seen acupuncture and other holistic healing modalities provide solutions.

It seems odd that inserting tiny needles into various points in the skin can be healing, but the principles behind acupuncture date back to ancient Chinese medicinal practice. You see, the body consists of 12 different energy channels, and each one has a unique point of increased electrical resistance. Acupuncture needles can help facilitate the movement of this energy.

Practitioners have used it to cure common medical conditions for thousands of years. They've developed acupuncture protocols that have been handed down through generations—slowly tweaked an perfected as they traveled across the globe.

No quackery here—just pure and simple healing.

Certain research has found that acupuncture actually lowers cortisol levels—the stress hormone that's ultimately responsible for the majority of illnesses today—in the body. As cortisol lowers, inflammation slowly reverses, unwinding the damage from a lifestyle of stress, irregular eating and poor sleep.

I recommend acupuncture to patients who are suffering migraines, hormone imbalances, and gastrointestinal issues, amount other painful conditions. I feel comfortable recommending the practice, because I've watched it work miracles in my own life.

Acupuncture, along with dietary changes and supplements, balanced my hormones and brought me to a better place of health. I experienced the tremendous healing powers of acupuncture and am confident in its role in solving the medical conditions of today. I love that acupuncture comes with minimal side effects and doesn't require additional medications.

After taking the time to understand acupuncture's complex history and implement the technique in my own health journey, I've found that the practice bridges the gap that stands between what modern science teaches us as physicians and what patients really experience.

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are inherent parts of my medical practice, and I think they should become more ingrained in the medical model moving forward.

No quackery here—just pure and simple healing.

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Taz Bhatia, M.D.

Integrative Medicine Doctor
Dr. Taz Bhatia, MD, is a board-certified physician, specializing in integrative and emergency medicine, pediatrics and prevention, with expertise in women’s health, weight-loss, hormone balance and nutrition. She is the author of the best-selling books “Super Woman RX” and “The 21-Day Belly Fix.” Personal health challenges in her twenties combined with a broken health care system motivated Dr. Taz to pursue an alternative definition of health and healthy living. As a young resident, she was sick and without answers, and began searching for help to heal her health issues. Studying various systems of medicine including Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture and Ayurveda, she found a wealth of information not yet taught in conventional medical schools. It led her to opening her now nationally-recognized practice, CentreSpring MD (formerly Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine). Today, Dr. Taz and her team work relentlessly to find a patient’s core health problems, their centre, in order to spring them forth in health, pulling from multiple systems of medicine, including integrative, functional, Chinese and holistic medicine.
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Taz Bhatia, M.D.

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