Acupuncture is a method of producing analgesia or altering the function of a system of the body by inserting fine, wire-thin needles into the skin on the body along a series of lines or channels, called meridians.By stimulating key points in the body – most commonly with needles – an acupuncturist seeks to restore balance to the normal energy flow. By rebalancing the normal flow of energy in the body, we aim to relieve pain or treat disease.
Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles, sometimes in conjunction with electrical stimulus, on the body’s surface in order to influence physiological functioning of the body.
The first record of Acupuncture is found in the 4,700 year old Huang Di Nei Jing (Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine). This is said to be the oldest medical textbook in
the world. It is said to have been written down from earlier theories by Shen Nung, the father of Chinese Medicine. Shen Nung documented theories about circulation, pulse, and the heart over 4,000 years before European medicine had any concept about them.
The ancient Chinese believed that there is a universal life energy called Chi or Qi present in every living creature. This energy is said to circulate throughout the body along specific pathways that are called meridians. As long as this energy flows freely throughout the meridians, health is maintained, but once the flow of energy is blocked, the system is disrupted and pain and illness occur. Acupuncture therefore works to “re-program” and restore normal functions by stimulating certain points on the meridians in order to free up the Chi energy.
In the discussion of Acupuncture treatment it is important to mention about Yin and Yang philosophy particularly in relation to the Chinese theory of body systems. As stated earlier Qi is an energy force that runs throughout the body. In addition, Qi is also prevalent throughout nature as well. Qi is comprised of two parts, Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang are opposite forces, that when balanced, work together. Any upset in the balance will result in natural calamities in nature and disease in humans. Yin is signified by female attributes, passive, dark, cold, moist, that which moves medially, and deficient of Yang. Yang is signified by male attributes, light, active, warm, dry, that which moves laterally, and deficient of Yin. Nothing is completely Yin or Yang. Instead there is universal constant flow of yin and yang forces. Therefore, within yin, there is Yang, and within Yang, there is the genesis of Yin. Whether or not you believe in Taoist philosophy, one thing is indisputable: Acupuncture works. Acupuncture needles vary in length, width of shaft, and shape of head. Today, most needles are disposable. They are used once and discarded in accordance with medical biohazard regulations and guidelines. There are a few different precise methods by which Acupuncturists insert needles. Points can be needled anywhere in the range of 15 degrees to 90 degrees relative to the skin surface, depending on the treatment called for. In most cases, a sensation felt by the patient, is desired. This sensation, which is not pain, is called deqi (pronounced dah-chee).
There are a few related procedures that fall into the range of Acupuncture treatments. The first is Electro-Acupuncture. This is the using of very small electrical impulses through the Acupuncture needles. This method is generally used for analgesia (pain relief or prevention). The amount of power used is only a few micro amperes, but the frequency of the current can vary from 5 to 2,000 Hz.
Another commonly used treatment in the United States is Auriculotherapy or Ear Acupuncture. The theory is that since the ear has a rich nerve and blood supply, it would have connections all over the body. For this reason, the ear has many Acupuncture points which correspond to many parts and organs of the body. Auricular Acupuncture has been successful in treating problems ranging from obesity to alcoholism, to drug addiction. There are numerous studies either completed, or currently going on which affirms Auricular Acupuncture’s effectiveness.
There are many diseases that can be treated successfully by Acupuncture or its related treatments. The most common ailments currently being treated are: allergic reactions, headaches of different origin, acute and chronic pain syndromes (while relieving some muscle spasm and inflammation), various forms of arthritis, certain conditions of nervous and musculoskeletal systems, as well as some disorders of the internal organs. There have also been clinical trials in the use of Acupuncture in treating anxiety disorders and depression. Likewise, very high success rates have been found in treating addictions to alcohol, tobacco (nicotine) and “hard’ drugs. Acupuncture is capable of relieving the organism of a physical dependency to drugs; however the psychological dependency (or habit) may still be an issue.
Overall, acupuncture treatment is frequently viewed as a healing, harmonizing and joyful.