Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
Chinese Medicine is a complete system of healing that has been developed and practiced by physicians for more than 3,000 years. Oriental Medicine includes acupuncture and Chinese herbology, heat therapy, breathing exercises and meditation, therapeutic massage, nutrition and lifestyle counseling.
Acupuncture is a healing technique that has been in use for several thousand years and helps hundreds of millions of people worldwide every day. It is part of Oriental Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine, along with herbal medicine, moxibustion, cupping, dietary therapy, breathing exercises, Tuina massage and lifestyle counseling.
It consists of inserting very thin, disposable needles into specific points on the skin that help regulate the flow of vital force and blood to different parts and organs of the body. Most of the points used are on the extremities. Insertion is usually painless. Once the needles are inserted the person rests between 20 to 40 minutes. After the needles are removed they are disposed. Needles are only used once
But there is much more to it than just taking a nap with a few thin needles. Actually, acupuncture is a complete medical protocol to prevent, diagnose and treat disease, as well as to improve general health, by correcting imbalances of energy in the body.
How does it work?
Thanks to the observation of nature and its rhythms, the doctors and practitioners of ancient times who developed the foundations Traditional Chinese medicine, observed that there is a universal life energy present in every living creature. They called this energy qi (pronounced “chee”).
They perceived that this energy circulates throughout the body along specific pathways that function as vessels or meridians. As long as the universal energy flows freely throughout the meridian system of the body, health is maintained. If the flow blocked though, the system is disrupted and pain and dysfunction occur. Imagine rivers that flood and cause disasters or an electrical grid short-circuiting that causes blackouts. Acupuncture works to reprogram and restore normal function by stimulating certain points on the meridians in order to free up the qi energy.
They also realized that every person was a unit of physical body, energy system and mind. These three influence and regulate the other. The energy system helps protect, integrate and nourish the body and mind. The body serves as support for the mind and the mind has the ability to experience and direct the physical body through the interaction with the energy system. When they are in good communication and balance the person experiences wellbeing but when they are out of balance or present blockages, the person experiences disease. It is for this reason that Chinese Medicine emphasizes a holistic approach that sees and treats person as a whole.
From the western point of view it is believed that acupuncture works by: – Improving blood and lymphatic flow – Reducing inflammation – Getting nerves to communicate – Restoring the proper balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems – Promoting the proper production and regulation of neurochemicals and hormones
What is acupuncture used for?
Acupuncture was popularized in the States during the early 70’s after President Nixon opened relations with China. At the time, a New York Times reporter, James Reston, had an appendectomy in a Chinese hospital using acupuncture as a means to decrease his post-surgical pain. This caused that most research about acupuncture in the West has focused on its pain-relieving effects, but that is only one part of what acupuncture offers.
Acupuncture helps to relief pain, strengthen the immune system, detoxify and regulate the functioning of the internal organs. It is generally a very relaxing experience due to its effects on the nervous and endocrine systems. Even people who are afraid of needles enjoy acupuncture.
Many people have found acupuncture and Traditional Chinese methods of healing to be excellent tools for healing disease, maintaining optimum health and preventing illness. It is effective for physical, psychological and emotional problems. Thanks to its effectiveness to balance energy flow to the internal organs it can address a wide range of disorders and helps with overall health.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) acupuncture can be used to treat problems related to:
Pain Management: Fatigue and Fybromialgia, Musculoskeletal Problems, Migraine & Headache.
Women’s Health: Infertility, Pregnancy support & Gynecological Disorders.
Digestive System: Gastrointestinal Disorders, Allergies, Constipation, Chemotherapy Side Effects.
Nervous System: Anxiety, Depression, Panic attacks, Insomnia, Drug and Alcohol Addiction.
Respiratory & Immune System: Asthma, Allergies, Respiratory Diseases, Immune Deficiencies.
Other Diseases: Cardiovascular Disorders, Skin Problems.
Are There Any Side Effects?
One of the great advantages of acupuncture and Chinese medicine is the absence of serious side effects. Occasionally after an acupuncture treatment, patients may report feeling slightly sore, lightheaded, or tired. However, most people report a sense of pleasant relaxation. It is advisable to rest for at least a few moments after a treatment in order to stabilize the body. It is best not to eat a heavy meal or engage in strenuous activity just before or after a treatment.MOXIBUSTION:
Moxibustion is a technique that uses heat and light produced from burning a Chinese herb, artemisia vulgaris, near or on specific acupuncture points. By its warming effect, it helps to nourish the vital force in the body and to smooth its flow within the system of acupuncture channels.
It is a great technique to strengthen the whole organism and enhance immune function. It is also very helpful for pain in the joints like knees or elbows. When receiving moxibustion usually a pleasant warming sensation is felt on the skin directly above.
Traditionally it is believed that moxibustion technique is used to enhances the effect of acupuncture by opening energy blockage, warming the body, promoting blood and lymphatic circulation and increasing the energy of the body.