WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE
Acupuncture, simply stated, is a health science which is used to successfully treat both pain and dysfunction in the body.
Acupuncture has its roots deeply planted in China. In fact,
authorities agree the science is between 5000 and 7000 years old. Its
use spread throughout ancient Egypt, the Middle East, the Roman Empire
and later into Western Europe as merchants and missionaries to China
told of the amazing discoveries the people of the Orient had developed.
Acupuncture did not become known on a national level in the U.S. until
1971 when diplomatic relations between China and America relaxed.
At first glimpse, Acupuncture appears strange, as its primary
notoriety is the utilization of needles placed in the skin at various
locations to relieve pain or affect a body part.
Early Chinese physicians discovered there is an energy network
traversing just below the surface of the skin which communicates from
the exterior to the internal organs and structures at over 1,000
"Acupoints" on the body. This energy works in harmony with the body's
circulatory, nervous, muscular, digestive, genitourinary and all other
systems of the body. When this vital energy becomes blocked or weakened,
an effect in a body system or anatomic location becomes evident.
Stimulation of one or a combination of key "Acupoints" on the body may
restore harmony to the affected area.
Historians have stated, "More people have benefited from Acupuncture
over the course of fifty centuries than the combined total of all other
healing sciences, both ancient and modern."
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Far too often in the medical professions, a
patient is told after extensive examination, "There is nothing wrong,"
Its all in your head," or "Sorry, you'll have to learn to live with it."
The examining doctor unable to find the cause of the problem has little
else to tell the patient. Fortunately, many physicians are now
referring their patients for an Acupuncture evaluation as a last resort.
The human body's energy flow courses over twelve meridians or
channels that are normally well balanced. If a disruption of energy flow
exists, it can alter the entire system, producing pain or symptoms in
If we were to compare a 175 pound man on one end of a seesaw and 45
pound child on the other end, it become obvious the seesaw would be
"broken" due to the fact the heavier person would be sitting on the
ground and the lighter would be dangling in the air. Even though the
seesaw is producing a symptom of being broken-extensive examination
would not reveal anything wrong with the seesaw. The obvious answer is
in the balance. Correction of the balance corrects the problem.
This is Acupunctures goal-to restore normalcy to the body's energy
balance by utilizing a combination of Acupoints located on the twelve
meridians. This accomplished by a variety of means, the needle is just
Medical research continues in this country and others to attempt to
explain in western scientific terms what the ancient Chinese seventy
centuries earlier described. Today, many theories have been postulated
as to why Acupuncture is so effective in pain control. However, as more
discoveries are made, more research is indicated.
IS TREATMENT PAINFUL?
One would assume inserting a needle
into the skin would be painful since most of us can relate to being
stuck with a pin or having hypodermic injection. However, four
Acupuncture needles can easily be inserted into the hollow tube of
hypodermic needle. Because of the extreme slenderness of the needle,
most people compare the sensations "less than a mosquito bite." A
phenomena referred to as "TEHCHI" occurs when the energy is contacted.
This sensation is felt as mild to moderate heaviness or tingling.
Needles obviously still have their place in clinical practice.
However, many physicians certified in Acupuncture and licensed
Acupuncturist are employing electronic and laser stimulation to the
Acupoint with equal effectiveness as the needle. Both of these
procedures are painless and are quickly becoming standard worldwide. The
tapping needle "teishein: is not really a needle as it does not pierce
the skin. It produces a mild moderate sensation. Compare it to tapping a
ball point pen on the skin. This form of stimulationhas been used
successfully for ceturies. Thumb pressure is equally impressive and not
HOW MANY TREATMENTS ARE USUAL?
Obviously the number of
treatments vary with different conditions and individuals. Chronic
problems generally require more treatment than acute ones. Some patients
notice an immediate improvement after the first treatment, whereas
others may not notice any effect until the seventh or eighth visit. It's
been shown that a certain percentage of patients receive maximum
benefit up to three months following a course of therapy.
A small number of patients will experience a worsening of symptoms,
as the body's energies are returning to normal. This is usual and no
need for alarm. It is followed by improvement. Researchers
internationally agree the usual number of treatments is between eight
and sixteen. The usual frequency is between two and four times per week.
Patients are urged not to enter an Acupuncture program with the
thought of "taking a few" to see what will happen. Even though it is
possible to achieve success. Patients are encouraged to be patient with
the healing process. If the treatments are recommended and results occur
in just five visits, the doctor may elect to discontinue treatments or
continue their use to stabilize the condition.
ARE RESULTS PSYCHOLOGICAL?
Many critics of Acupuncture have
suggested the science is hypnosis or "mind over matter". This criticism
is totally unfounded as Acupuncture has startling effects in infants and
toddlers as well as veterinary applications. The effected it has in
surgery as an anesthetic further disclaims the skeptics. Even total
disbelievers report favorable response to Acupuncture.
However, a positive outlook is obviously beneficial in all phases of life to include healing.
WHAT CONDITIONS ARE ACCEPTED?
Acupuncture textbooks list well
over one hundred different conditions that respond well to Acupuncture.
The World Health Organization, working in close harmony with the
International Acupuncture training center of the Shanghai College of
Traditional Chinese Medicine, has indicated Acupuncture is effective in
the following conditions:
Acute and chronic pain relief, migraine, tension, cluster and sinus
headaches, trigeminal neuralgia, bladder dysfunction, bed wetting, neck
pain, and midback pain, low shoulder, tennis elbow, post-operative pain
relief, gastric problems, asthma, allergies, skin conditions,
hemorrhoids, abnormal blood pressure, fatigue, anxiety, neurologic
syndrome, various eye problems, etc., etc.
This is only a partial list of the numerous conditions Acupuncture has been credited with helping.
Authored By: Dr. John Amaro