This special type of life energy is said to come from three primary sources. Part of our ch’i energy comes from the vital-energy reserve we inherit from our parents. This type of ‘inherited’ life energy is referred to as ancestral ch’i. The second source of ch’i is absorbed (and produced) from the foods we eat. The third (and possibly the most important) source of ch’i comes directly from the environment. A certain amount of ch’i is absorbed from our surroundings and taken into the body and the meridian system via the acupuncture points themselves. Acupoints appear to function like tiny energy pores in the skin that absorb this unique environmental subtle energy directly into the meridians, where it is then distributed to the organs of the body.
Gerber further explains that the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine on illness is that ch’i becomes imbalanced, and acupuncture is one way to rebalance the ﬂow of ch’i energy to whatever organ or bodily structure is dysfunctional.
The acupuncture points located on the skin also seem to function like miniature electrical relay stations along a vast power line, helping to maintain the ﬂow of energy along each meridian,” Gerber wrote; that concept, he believes, requires “a great leap in thinking beyond the limited biomechanistic paradigm of traditional medicine.
Although many traditional practitioners argue that acupuncture treatment for pain, despite its anecdotal success, has more of a placebo effect (which can be extremely powerful) than an actual physical repair result, an expert consensus panel of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1997 agreed from certain studies that acupuncture treatments did relieve nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy, chemotherapy, and anesthesia; reduced pain after dental surgery; and helped alleviate pain caused by osteoarthritis, headache, carpal tunnel syndrome, ﬁbromyalgia, asthma, and other conditions. Acupuncture is also reported to have positive results in the treatment of addiction withdrawal and in the course of rehabilitation for stroke patients. In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that sinusitis, the common cold, tonsillitis, eye inﬂammation, nearsightedness, duodenal ulcer and other gastrointestinal disorders, trigeminal neuralgia, Ménière’s disease, tennis elbow, sciatica, rheumatoid conditions, menstrual cramps, radiation illness and other types of environmental poisoning, and speech aphasia may also be treated with acupuncture.