Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are the worlds oldest and most successful traditional medical system still in common use today. It’s success is the direct result of it’s usefullness in achieving and sustaining quality health for millions of people around the world. Its renewed popularity, especially in the west, will test the adaptability of the medicine as the western mind grasps what are essentially eastern concepts of health and well being. It is a very exciting time!
So what is acupuncture?
Well I can tell you it is not just needles! Although acupuncture needles are great, no really they are. These are not the type of needles that you are thinking of right now if you have never recieved acupuncture. The dreaded hospital hyperdermic usually comes to mind for most. No nothing to be sqeamish about. We are not injecting you with anything or pulling any fluids out! Acupuncture needles are very thin, about twenty can fit in the tip of a hyperdermic needle. After a few sessions most people realize there is nothing to be scared of.
So coming back to the question of what is acupuncture? At the heart of the system there swings a pendulum between the patient and the practitioner with the participation of the patient in their own health care being one of the most valuable long term results.
In the “old” days in China doctors were only paid when their patients were healthy. When the patient got sick they were not required to pay the doctor anymore until they were healthy again. This worked out as it was always in the best interest of the physician to keep everyone as healthy and long as possible…….if they wanted their next paycheck!
In the same manner Chinese medicine understands that the patient is always the biggest factor in any long term recovery. This begins the process of sustainable change whereby the idea of preventative health can flourish, because the first step always begins with the patient. As a result this opens up the doorway to a deeper understanding and appreciation of some of the basic principles that acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been found Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are at least 2000 years years old and are based on Chinese cultural philosophies that are much older, some say around the way of 8000 years. One such philosophy is that of Taoism. The Tao literally means “the way” and in the context of acupuncture, the way to good health. The basic theme of Taoism is for man to live in harmony and balance between the often opposing forces of the natural world. By becoming part of the – rythm and flow – of the natural world you can balance the forces of Yin and Yang and will attain and maintain proper health.ed on. This new knowledge may be applied beyond the realms of medicine as well.
Acupuncture body points themselves were derived from millions of independent observations from practitioners as to their affects on the body. The modern biomedical model of western research confirms that acupuncture causes neural biomechanical and biochemical changes within the body.
So what is acupuncture to you then and how can it be so helpful? The goal is to naturally balance the body through its own mechanisms toward a more healthy state. This is best acheived while problems exist at a more “funtional” level. When structural changes begin to occur more invasive method might be needed to correct the condition. Acupuncture points are also known to have increased electrical conductivity, although the nerves are not clearly linked to this type of occurrence.
There are several well known and respected types of acupuncture in addition to the Chinese system of practice. Japanese acupuncture places more importance on palpation and can have shallower needle insertion. Korean acupuncture has specialized treatments for the whole body while using only points on the hands as areas for insertion. Trigger point acupuncture uses points to be needled based solely on the anatomy of the body and has been widely used in the field of sports therapy.