Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical procedure involving
the insertion and the manipulation of needles at any of more than 360 points in the human body.
It is Applied to relieve pain during surgery or in rheumatic conditions, and to treat many other illnesses, acupuncture is used today in most hospitals in China and by some private practitioners in Japan and elsewhere, including the United
States and the United Kingdom.
Acupuncture has proved beneficial in many forms of psychiatric illnesses and mental disorders such as neurasthenia, psychoneuroses, schizophrenia, mental depression, behaviour problems of children, drug addictions, mental states associated with old age, epilepsy and space occupying lesions of the brain.
Furthermore, acupuncture treatment is beneficial in treating insomnia, fits, hyperexcitability and anxiety, forgetfulness, auditory hallucinations, hysteria, sexual impotence, ejaculatio praecox (premature ejaculation) to name a few.
is the ancient art of healing developed over thousands of years as part
of the traditional medicine of China, Japan and other Eastern countries.
to traditional Oriental philosophy, physical and mental health is
dependant on the movement of the body's natural energy- known as Qi.
It is believed that Qi circulates evenly through a number of
channels beneath the skin. When the movement of Qi becomes
disrupted, illness may occur. This natural movement of Qi may be
disrupted by a number of factors, including emotional states (for
example, prolonged grief, anger or fear), overwork, poor diet,
infections, trauma or hereditary factors.
involves the insertion of very fine needles into the skin at specific
points in order to restore the natural movement of Qi to bring
the body into a balanced state of being.
is a holistic treatment:
with acupuncture will address not only the symptoms of a particular
illness but also the underlying factors which have may have contributed
to the development of the illness.
Acupuncture may be
considered a holistic form of medicine as it works to improve the
overall well-being of the patient, rather than simply focusing on the
isolated treatment of specific symptoms. This philosophy is illustrated
by an ancient Chinese medical proverb:
the root as well as the branches"
is traditionally believed that acupuncture works via affecting the
movement of Qi ('Energy') and Xue (Blood) through discrete
channels, or meridians.
Western theories have been posited as to how acupuncture works. One
explanation is that acupuncture stimulates the body to produce certain
naturally-occurring chemicals within the body known as endorphins, which
inhibit pain and increase feelings of well-being.
"Gate Theory" posits a second explanation for the analgesic
effects of acupuncture, suggesting that pain impulses are blocked from
reaching the spinal cord or brain at various "gates" to these
areas. Since a majority of acupuncture points are either located near,
or connected to neural structures, this theory suggests that acupuncture
stimulates the nervous system to "shut the gate" to the
sensation of pain.
research indicates that acupuncture points are located at areas of
decreased electrical resistance.
is not necessary to believe in acupuncture for it to work. Acupuncture
can work on animals and on small children - who cannot be instructed to
"believe" in acupuncture!
an acupuncture session, the acupuncturist will ask certain questions
about the complaint in order to assess where to place the acupuncture
may be left in place for varying amounts of time, depending on the
effect required, from a few minutes to twenty or thirty minutes.
acupuncture, other techniques derived from Traditional Chinese Medicine
may be used. These include massage, cupping (the use of suction cups
placed on the skin), moxabustion (the burning of the herb mugwort (artemisia
vulgaris) at specific points), and electro-acupunctuure, the stimulation
of certain points with a very low electrical current. These techniques
are generally used for pain relief.
initial session may take slightly longer than subsequent sessions. A
detailed case history will be taken in order to ascertain the underlying
pattern of disharmony.
pulses on both wrists will be felt in order to assess rhythm, strength
and various pulse qualities. The colour and coating of the tongue will
also be observed. This information will be used to tailor the treatment
specifically to the individual.
needles are very fine and bear little resemblance to needles used for
blood tests or injections.
the needle is inserted, a sensation is elicited which is often described
as a tingling sensation, or a dull ache. During treatment patients
commonly experience a pleasant feeling of deep relaxation- some even
are several contraindications for acupuncture. These include:
acupuncture is a safe treatment. Acupuncture needles are sterile and disposable:
each needle is only used once.
members of the British Acupuncture Council observe a Code of Practice
which lays down stringent standards of hygiene and sterilization for
needles and other equipment. These procedures have been approved by the
Department of Health and provide protection against the transmission of
frequency and number of treatments required will very from patient to
patient. Some symptoms may be relieved after a single session, while
others may take four to ten treatments.
a general rule, acute problems usually respond more quickly, while
chronic problems of longstanding duration may take longer. While a
specific problem is being worked on, you may visit your acupuncturist
once or twice a week and gradually reduce the frequency to once or twice
maintenance of good health, it is traditional in China to have
acupuncture at the change of every season
is a safe treatment for children.
children will not be required to sit still for very long as needles are
generally left in place for a much shorter time.
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