What is Acupuncture
This holistic and Complementary Medicinal technique derives from Traditional Chinese Medicine Practices believed to date back to around 100 BC in China. Today it is one of the most popular of traditional Chinese medicines used in Western Society.
If you are speaking from a Western belief, Acupuncture is a system of complementary medicine, it involves the insertion of fine, disposable needles. The needles used are solid rather than hollow as hypodermic needles are. It is a complementary medicine that does much into the skin at specific points along meridians, otherwise known as lines of energy. The needles more than alleviate pain. It is used in the treatment for various mental conditions as well as physical. In neuroscience acupuncture sites are seen as spots where nerve, muscles and connective tissue can be stimulated
The Eastern or traditional explanation for its effectiveness is that it modifies the flow of energy, also known as Qi or Chi, throughout the body. Qi is a harmonious balance of “yin” and “yang”. When there is an imbalance in the forces this is when illness occurs. Qi is believed to flow through pathways or meridians in the body. These meridians are accessible through 350 acupuncture points in the body. The Chinese believe that disease is caused by the disruptions to the flow of energy (Qi) in the body and when you put the needle through specific points it stimulates the nerve.
Acupuncture theory believes that Qi moves along 12 main channels in the body known as ‘meridians’.
History of Acupuncture
History of tattoo marks seen on ‘Iceman’ who died around 3300 BC are similar to forms of stimulatory markings that involve the meridians. Earlier long sharpened bones and stones were found to be used back to around 6000 BC for stimulatory treatment. The earliest documentation of any kind of acupuncture procedures is referred to in a book called The Yellow Emperor’s
Classic of Internal Medicine. This book includes detailed information about the concepts of channels. Between the 14th and 16th centuries, during the period of the Ming Dynasty. The book, ‘The Great Compendium of Acupuncture and Moxibustion’ was published. The practices of Modern Acupuncture today are based on this.
Benefits of Acupuncture
Acupuncture is used to improve the body’s functions and boost well being or promote self-healing. It can also be used to help relieve pain and prevent some conditions. Some of which include:
Headaches and Migraine, as well as the prevention of migraine
Treatment of Osteoarthritis
Some Gastric conditions
Most of these disorders require further scientific investigation for confirmation that acupuncture is a proven technique, however the NCCIH, (National Center for complementary and Integrative Health) note that it has been proven to help in cases of low back, neck and knee pain, osteoarthritis, headache and migraine. In 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) listed a number of conditions in which acupuncture had been proven. These include: High and Low Blood Pressure, chemotherapy side effects (nausea and vomiting), period pain, dysentery, facial pain, morning sickness, inducing labour, dental pain, sciatica, tennis elbow, arthritis and reducing the risk of stroke.
A typical acupuncture appointment or consultation will begin with a discussion about your physical and mental health, health problems and a physical examination. The therapist will then stimulate certain points in the body by inserting fine metal needles of up to 20 at one time. Acupuncture is a safe procedure when practiced by a trained practitioner, however as it involves needles there are a few potential side effects, being bleeding or bruising, infection, contact dermatitis or nerve damage. Dirty Needle born diseases or puncture of organs have been heard of. Therapists should however use disposable, sterile needles.
As it is a holistic technique, which stems from Eastern traditions, there is still much that Western Medicine cannot verify about Acupuncture. It is widely used by both Eastern and Western Cultures today, however, and agreed that it treats a wide variety of diseases, pain and stress related symptoms and is a viable option especially for chronic pain.