What is Acupuncture and how does Acupuncture work – it a very common question. Acupuncture is a branch of traditional Chinese medicine, based on the location and manipulation of fine needles into various points of the body for therapeutic purposes. Its an ancient system of healing developed over thousands of years as part of the traditional medicine of China, Japan, and other Eastern countries. The earliest records of acupuncture date back over 3,000 years and today there are over 3 million practitioners worldwide.
How Acupuncture Works
Traditional acupuncture is based on on the principle that our health depends on the balanced functioning of the body s energy, known as Qi. When we are in perfect health all the energy runs harmoniously throughout our body. When an illness arises the flow of energy becomes disturbed and this can manifest in a diverse array of symptoms. Using very fine needles acupuncture aims to correct the flow of energy and by doing this the symptoms will be resolved.
Blocked Qi (energy) may relate to areas on the body that are tender to touch, particularly cold or warm, or a different color. These clues help practitioners decide which points need to be treated in order to bring the body back into balance.
Acupuncture isn t just about using needles, and some patients prefer not to have needles. Other techniques may also be used such as acupressure, cupping or moxibustion.
On the whole, acute problems such as a recently strained back will only require a few treatments and problems of a more chronic nature require more treatment.
You will get an idea of length of treatment at the initial consultation. As a general rule, I like to see a change after every acupuncture session, and if this is the case then I find that patients are not too concerned about length of treatment provided they see a change after each treatment.
Acupuncture is a powerful & subtle medicine and often I am trying to treat imbalances which have been going on for many years. In some cases, the disease process is so entrenched in the body that only maintenance or pain relief is possible.
Picture left – Treating a patient for depression – regulating the governing channel that runs along the spine and into the brain. Picture taken at Guluo hospital, Nanjing, China
Conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis require long-term management to try and prevent relapses and prolong periods of remission.
What it Treats
- To control nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy
- Cure respiratory disorders such as sinus and allergy problems
- Lower high blood pressure and treat anemia
- Cure earaches, headaches and dental pain
- Eliminate sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea
- Cure digestive disorders, including IBS
- Alleviate menstrual problems and cure infertility issues in both men and women
- Relieve anxiety and depression
- Provide assistance with recovery from addictions
- Treat diseases of the immune system
- Aid with diets and weight loss
While not all of the claims have been thoroughly studied and proven in laboratory tests, there are millions who claim to experience relief from these problems as well as many others. As many as 3 million people a year in the United States undergo acupuncture therapy every year for a variety of medical and mental issues.
What is Acupuncture Treatment
Acupuncture treatment is the process of alleviating pain from the body by using filiform acupuncture needles that are inserted into various areas of the body. In certain cases acupuncture therapy is also used to release stress from the body.
Today the methods are becoming increasingly accepted into western civilizations although the actual background of tcm acupuncture comes from the east.
According to Chinese acupuncture medicine, there are several key points found throughout the body along meridians which is where the life energy flows through the body. By following an acupuncture chart doctors are able to alleviate the toxins in the body and restore the overall health of the body.
Over the years there has been extensive debate over the actual effectiveness of acupuncture with traditional doctors and scientists split over whether the process is actually beneficial or not.
The World Health Organization concluded that acupuncture treatment can help more than 28 conditions with supporting evidence that there are several dozen other conditions that it may aid. Among the most well known is acupuncture infertility, which many couples will swear is the reason they were able to get pregnant after years of failed efforts and medical treatments.
Like other health procedures, you should only seek treatment at an acupuncture center or acupuncture clinic given the fact that the acupuncture needles need to be administered by trained professionals and sterilized properly.
A trained acupuncturist will have attended acupuncture school with documented training hours. However, in many counties, like the UK, the government does not yet regulate acupuncture doctors, which means that it is up to you to research the background of your doctor before deciding to try the treatment.