The earliest account of this is found in the book called Nei Jing which in English means the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine. The contents of this book date somewhere around 200 BC. Back then, they did not use metal needles and instead used those made out of stone and herbs to treat a patient.
Acupuncture prevents and treats diseases by inserting very fine needles into the skin specifically at the anatomic points of the body.
The principle behind this concept is that illnesses occur because there is an imbalance in your life force known as Qi. It is believed that this flows in 14 channels in the human body known as meridians which branch out to bodily organs and functions. If there is a blockage or obstruction in any of them, this is when you succumb to a disease or an illness.
The imbalance in the Qi may go one way or the other because of Yin and Yang. The person can only be normal if there is harmony between the two which is what acupuncture is trying to achieve. This can only be restored by stimulating these acupuncture points so your Qi can be adjusted, balanced and harmonized.
Apart from using needles, practitioners also use friction, heat, impulses of electromagnetic energy and pressure to stimulate these points in order to balance the movement of energy in the body to reduce one’s health. An example of this is sonopuncture where an ultrasound device that transmits sound waves is applied to these points in the body. Some use a tuning fork and other vibration devices.
According to the World Health Organization or WHO, acupuncture is used for treatment of acute bronchitis, the common cold, cataract, toothaches, gingivitis, hiccups, ulcers, constipation, diarrhea, headache and migraine, Meniere’s disease, osteoarthritis and a lot more. In the US, acupuncture is often used to treat chronic pain conditions and mind body disorders. Studies have been conducted and it has been proven to treat ear, nose, throat, respiratory, gastrointestinal, eye, nervous system and muscular disorders.
Commonly used to treat bodily pains, acupuncture actually has a wide range of uses that range from addictions, injuries and disease prevention.
But it is merely an alternative and not a proper form of medical treatment. This means you should still be examined by a professional in the medical field who can determine the severity of your illness or disease.
The acupuncturist is the specialist who conducts acupuncture. He or she may use needles or some other instruments depending on the type that will be used to create harmony and balance in the body.
When looking for an acupuncturist, you should also ask where they got their training, how long they have been in the practice and most importantly, what experience the specialist has had in treating the condition you are experiencing. They should also be able to present their credentials like where they graduated and their state board license. If you live in a state that does not require a license, make sure they have something to show which certifies that they can practice their profession.
Before the needles are inserted, you need to undergo a physical examination and answer a few questions. There are risks involved even though it is a painless procedure because the needle might hit something vital inside but if the specialist is good, then there is nothing to worry about.
You may notice a spot of blood when the needles come off. But if you are concerned about it, talk to your acupuncturist so he or she can prescribe something.
Some patients will experience immediate relief after the first session but others will not experience anything at all. This is the reason that an average session should be done 12 to 15 times at least 2 to 3 times a week.
If acupuncture works for you, then the only thing you need are follow up sessions. This can be done twice every 2 weeks or monthly. It is really up to you. But don’t forget to also see your regular doctor so he or she can also monitor the progress of your condition.
Types of Acupuncture
There are different types of acupuncture.
1. TCM based acupuncture.
It uses eight principles of complementary opposites to create harmony in the body. These include yin/yang, internal/external, excess/deficiency, hot/cold.
2. French energetic acupuncture.
This is often used by MD acupuncturists. Meridian patterns are emphasized here particularly the yin-yang pairs of primary meridians.
3. Korean hand acupuncture
It is another as practitioners believe that the hands and feet have concentrations of qi, and that applying acupuncture needles to these areas is effective for the entire body.
4. Auricular acupuncture
It is believed that the ear is a microcosm of the body. This means that acupuncture needles are placed on certain points on the ear so it can treat certain addiction disorders.
Myofascially-based acupuncture is often utilized by physical therapists as it involves feeling the meridian lines in search of tender points before applying needles as this is where abnormal energy flows.
5. Meridian Therapy
It is Japanese styles of acupuncture and tends to put more emphasis on needling technique and feeling meridians in diagnosis.
Impulses of electromagnetic energy can also be used as the body generates tiny but electrical discharges which influence the function, growth and maturity of certain types of cells. By inserting the needles in these areas, it stimulates and alters the neurotransmitters in the body thus making the patient feel better after treatment. This is also sometimes used for diagnosis and testing.
This method does not use needles. For instance an ultrasound device is used that transmits sound waves to points in the body to treat a patient. Some practitioners use a tuning fork or other vibration devices.
Here, the professional will use their hands to relieve the pain. This can be used on it sown or with other manual healing techniques.
The number of treatments you will need depends on the patient’s condition. On average this could be from 10 to 5 treatments and 2 to 3 times a week. How much it will cost also varies as this could be from $40 to $150. Some insurance companies and HMO’s now cover that or partially so you should check if this is included in your policy.
Anyone can try acupuncture to relieve pain or prevent one but many practitioners decline to see someone during pregnancy. But if you have already started, it is generally safe to do so until the infant is born.
Some acupuncturists may ask you to take in some herbs as part of the treatment. Since you have no idea what it can do, have this checked first by your local doctor to make sure this is safe as this could interact with the drugs you are taking causing side effects.
Which type of acupuncture should you try? That is up to you. All of them are effective so discuss this with your doctor and do some research so you know what you are getting yourself into. Each of these is painless so just relax and let the professional do the rest.
Method of Treatment
Before this person does anything, you will first have to answer a few questions. You will then be given a physical exam to check your pulse and observe the shape, color and coating of your tongue. Other things that are checked will be the color and texture of the skin and your posture as this will give clues to your health.
Only then will you be told to lie down on a padded examining table and the needles are inserted to the skin. The difference with this kind of needle is that they twirl and jiggle each time they are pushed further into the body.
The needles used in acupuncture are very small and you will probably feel a slight twitch when the needle goes in. They will be inserted carefully to ¼ or an inch in depth and will stay there from 45 minutes to an hour depending on the condition of the patient. If inserted properly, you should feel some cramping, distention, electric sensation or tingling which means that the treatment is working.
Needles used for acupuncture especially in the US are clean because they are required to be disposable. This prevents any chance that those who go for treatment will be contaminated by a communicable disease like hepatitis or HIV.
You may not feel them at all and if you do, it will only be a twitch that soon goes away. Once they are in place, this will be left there for 15 to 60 minutes that may make you feel very relaxed and sleepy that you may even doze off. Once the session is complete, the needles are removed and you will be on your way.
In some cases, acupuncture is more effective when the needles are first heated. This technique is known as “moxibustion.” Here, the acupuncturist lights a small bunch of the dried herb called moxa or mugwort and holds it above the needles. The herb, which burns slowly and gives off a little smoke and a pleasant, incense-like smell, will never directly touch your body.
Another variation is electrical acupuncture. Here, electrical wires are hooked up to the needles and a weak current runs through it which may cause no or little sensation at all.
It is also possible that herbal medications will also be prescribed by the acupuncturist for your treatment to be successful.
When looking for an acupuncturist, make sure that person is licensed. Before he or she can obtain one, they have to complete 4 years of training at an approved college of oriental medicine. In the state of California, one governing body that gives the person the title is the California Acupuncture Committee.
If they get this from another organization, a copy of their license must always be clearly displayed in the practitioner’s office. One example is the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
When choosing an acupuncturist, there are a few things you should ask aside from their credentials. You should know what styles of acupuncture is used as there are some techniques that do not use needles to treat a patient.
Although there are no studies which prove that one technique is better than the other, some patients are more comfortable with one type over the other.
Length of the treatment.
Patients who are suffering from a chronic illness will have to be treated over a period of months before any improvements can be seen. This will help you plan your schedule since you need to go to the clinic 2 to 3 times weekly. The acupuncturist just like a medical doctor is there to help you get better. If you don’t see any progress with this person, perhaps you should seek the help of another specialist.
The duration of your treatment varies depending on the nature of your problem. Some are easy to fix compared to others especially if you are dealing with something long term. For instance, alcoholics and drug users may quit their vices after 3 or 4 months while those suffering from a disease like autism will take years as there is no know cure yet for the this illness.
Diseases which can be cured with Acupuncture
If you are thinking about trying acupuncture, the following will give you a better idea of its many benefits.
Acupuncture is most commonly known to treat bodily pains such as muscular pains and arthritis. There are many types of arthritis, and each have a different acupuncture procedure. However, the healing effects may vary from person to person. Acupuncture for arthritis usually takes several sessions and takes a lot of cooperation your therapist for best results.
Other pain related ailments that can be cured by acupuncture are severe headaches and migraines, acute backaches, shoulder and neck aches, leg pains, trapped nerves, muscle related injuries, after surgery, carpal tunnel syndrome, sports injuries, menstrual pains, tooth aches, abdominal pains, and rheumatic pains.
Acupuncture is widely recommended for symptoms of depression and anxiety such as irritability, insomnia, loss of appetite, loss of interest in social activity and suicidal tendencies. Acupuncture is thought to relieve stress and improve flow of energy that may be causing the depressive symptoms. Improvement in symptoms can be seen as early as the first session. Experts have found acupuncture to be a beneficial complement to other forms of depression therapy such as psychological counseling, and healthier than chemical alternatives such as anti-depressants.
Acupuncture has become a popular alternative to common remedies such as sleeping pills. It works at the nerve levels, relaxing and soothing your senses. Acupuncture is thought to be a safer route for insomnia because it brings back your natural sleeping cycle through natural means and not through chemicals, which can turn into an addiction. Using acupuncture for insomnia usually starts working after the very first session. The treatment is usually stretched out for a period of time, until your body returns to its natural sleeping cycle.
Studies show that acupuncture is a beneficial form of complementary therapy for women who are having undergoing treatments for fertility problem. Acupuncture is believed to relieve the anxiety of women undergoing fertility treatment. Also, acupuncture’s success in aiding fertility is more pronounced in in-vitro fertilization. In addition, the rate of miscarriages has been found to be lower for women who do acupuncture.
The following are other ailments that acupuncture has been known to remedy:
- Menopausal problems such as hot flushes, infertility, and premenstrual tension.
- Bladder or bowel problems, difficulty or pain in urination, and urinary infections.
- Digestive disorders including nausea, indigestion, heartburn, and diarrhea.
- Respiratory problems such as rhinitis, hay fever, prickly heat, rashes and ulcers, eczema, and some types of dermatitis and psoriasis.
- Conditions of the eyes and mouth such as cataracts, dry eyes, conjunctivitis, retinitis and toothache, and post extraction pains.
- Heat problems such as poor circulation, stroke recovery, and hypertension.
- Addictions such as smoking, drinking, or other harder drugs.
If you as suffering from any of the ailments mentioned above, acupuncture may just be the remedy for you. Acupuncture is harmless, and is known to promote health and a sense of well-being. It is a healthy, chemical-free alternative to traditional forms of medical treatment.
Is it risk free?
Acupuncture is not risk free. Hematoma may develop if the needle punctures a circulatory structure. It is also possible that pneumothorax may occur if the needle is inserted too deep. There is also the risk of HIV and hepatitis if the needle was not properly sterilized.
Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years. Given that this has been practiced for more than 2000 years, various styles of acupuncture have been developed. So, before you decide to go for a session, you should know what technique is used so they can explain to you what happens.
Acupuncture can cure a number of diseases as I submitted above but it depends upon your choice of the specialist, his/her qualification, training and experience, methods of treatment chosen and the proper diagnosis. Just like conventional medicine, don’t expect an improvement overnight as this takes time so just keep an open mind.
Kindly Be Careful And Be Happy – Acupuncture Can Cure Many Diseases.