Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese method of treating ailments. The word acupuncture is made of two parts – ‘acus’ – which means a needle, and ‘puncture’. This method provides relief from illness by needle puncture of specific points on the body.
In ancient Chinese literature we found references that stone needles called ‘Bien’ were used for this purpose. With the advent of metal era needles of copper and iron were used by practitioners of this form of medicines.
This form of alternative medicine is based on the concept of Qui or Chi (pronounced as ‘chee’). This is a vital energy force comparable to ‘prana’ in Indian philosophy. According to traditional Chinese concept the structure of the universe is explained on the basis Yin and Yang. They represent two aspects of energy, imbalance of which results in a disease condition. ‘Yin’ stands for all that is negative like peace endurance, weakness etc and ‘Yang’ stands for all positive influences like strength, warmth, sun, heaven.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) states that the body is made up of made up of hollow organs. These are represented on the body surface according to their energy flow in ‘Meridians’. Specific points or acupoints were charted out on these meridians. The stimulation of these points by needles leads to a balance of energy forces and this is responsible for cure of diseases caused by imbalance of body energy.
Acupuncture spread from China to Korea, Japan and Vietnam and elsewhere in East Asia. In 1023 between the Han Dynasty and the Song Dynasty and the Emperor Renzong of Song around ninety works on acupuncture were written in China.
Portuguese missionaries in the 16th century were among the first to bring reports acupuncture to the West.
The first European text on acupuncture was written by Willem ten Rhijne, a Dutch physician who studied the practice for two years in Japan. In 1822 an edict from the Chinese Emperor banned the practice of teaching of acupuncture.
Acupuncture gained attention in the United States when President Richard Nixon visited China in 1972. During his visit, the delegation was shown a patient undergoing major surgery while fully awake receiving acupuncture rather than anesthesia.
The greatest exposure in the West came when James Reston, the New York Times reporter accompanied Nixon during the visit received acupuncture in china for post- operative pain after undergoing a emergency appendectomy under standard anesthesia. Reston was so impressed with the pain relief he experienced from the procedure that he wrote about acupuncture in The New York Times.
Acupuncture therapy is a traditional and ancient Chinese practice consists of many folk medical ways which are based on spirituality. The vital energy in your body flows through channels known as meridians, consists of branches which connect to bodily organs or functions. Any imbalance to these chi levels is considered as illness.
It involves insertion of very thin, stainless steel needles into various parts of your body. To produce better stimulation, low frequency electric currents are also applied to the needles.
Needling produces subjective sensation like pain, numbness, soreness, heaviness and distension objective beneficial effects produced are:-
1. Analgesia i.e. pain-relieving effects useful in variety of painful conditions.
2. Sedation or calming effects useful in epilepsy, insomnia & mental disease like mania and anxiety states.
3. Homeostasis or maintaining the normal balance of the body.
4. Immunity improvement-better immunity and protection from infection.
Scientific basis of its effectiveness is based on Gate control of pain and production and release of pain relieving mediators called endorphins.
WHEN TO RECEIVE ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT
Acupuncture treatment is usually undertaken when you do not wish to consume harmful prescription drugs or undergo surgery. Acupuncture therapy has had various effects on people, so it is very important to get proper diagnosis and check whether the treatment will benefit you.
Acupuncture treatment does not include drugs and is quite safe in nature. It is also very important to receive the treatment from a qualified doctor in order to avoid any kind of further problems.
DIAGNOSIS BEFORE CONDUCTING ACUPUNCTURE THERAPY
The diagnosis of a patient includes many things like:
- Patient’s medical history and lifestyle
- Examining the skin and tongue
- Listening to breathing sounds
- Pulse recording
The electrical properties in your body can become imbalanced several weeks or months the physical symptoms occur.
BENEFITS OF ACUPUNCTURE THERAPY
1. Acupuncture therapy reduces blood pressure problems
2. Acupuncture is a non-invasive, alternate treatment for people suffering from muscle pain, body ache, joints pains, arthritis and tennis elbow.
3. Pressure points in the head and forehead are triggered through the process of Acupuncture to remove the pain caused by headache and migraine.
4. Acupuncture is very helpful in treating the problems like asthma.
5. Acupuncture boosts the immune system and eliminates the need for people to resort to pain killers.
6. Acupuncture is very helpful in lessening the irritating and painful PMS symptoms through modulating the psychosomatic conditions.
7. Acupuncture helps in preventing the problems of Urinary Tract Infection in women.
8. Acupuncture is very successful in relieving the chronic back pains.
9. Acupuncture soothes the burning in your stomach.
10. Acupuncture is very helpful in curing depressions and anxiety.
11. Acupuncture therapy also helps you lose weight.
12. Acupuncture therapy is very beneficial in curing neurological diseases.
13. Acupuncture boosts the effectiveness of pharmaceuticals- Cutting the dose and adding acupuncture also reduces the drug’s side effects like nausea, weight gain, and a decreased sex drive.
14. Acupuncture therapy is very effective to prevent a health condition from becoming acute.
15. Acupuncture therapy counteracts the effects of radiation- Cancer patients undergoing radiation treatment are likely to suffer a variety of side effects like nausea and dry mouth, after receiving radiation to the head and neck. It has been found that people undergoing radiation treatment perceived fewer negative side effects of radiation even though the side effects may still be there.
Side effects of acupuncture therapy are:
- Harm to internal organs.
- Improper sterilization of the needles can cause infection.
- Weakening of your body’s system due to the reaction of needles.
- Bleeding in the needles inserted areas.
Acupuncture Therapy is a technique of ancient Chinese medicine meant to promote natural healing and prevent or stop suffering. This is accomplished by regulating the flow of qi or life energy, in the body. Practitioners of acupuncture believe that meridians are channels of qi, pronounced as chee, that runs through the body in predictable patterns. They can get blocked, creating imbalances in biochemistry and problems with organ function. The goal of acupuncture is to unblock disturbances in the flow of chee, which allows the body to work optimally and heal itself.
A session of acupuncture therapy involves a trained practitioner placing very thin needles in a patient’s skin at specific points along the meridians, determined by patient’s symptoms and problems. After the insertion of needles, the patient lies still and relaxes for about half an hour before they are removed.
The biggest concern that people have about trying the acupuncture therapy is the fear of needles. But the needles are so small in diameter that it is hardly painful. Most people report feeling minimal pain, like a pinch when the needle is inserted and nothing while they remain in place.
There are also practitioners who are using magnet or other techniques instead of needles.
It is very useful for treating a wide variety of conditions including physical, psychological or emotional issues. It can be used to encourage good health, relieving pain, prevent illness, or treat an existing illness.
It is an increasingly common treatment for things such as cigarette smoking addiction and autism. It may also be used as way to try to avoid invasive medical treatments.
Acupuncture therapy is one of the most popular forms of alternative medicine.