All About Acupuncture

August 28, 2012 0 Comments

By Lawrence Reaves

Traditional Chinese medicine is one of the most complex of all forms of alternative medicine. It is also one of the oldest and most comprehensive. Traditional Chinese medicine – also called TCM – is a system that works to balance and harmonize the body, its functions, and its energy.

Acupuncture is one part of the TCM school of practice. It is very old; the practice may even be older than the elaborate herbal remedies that are also part of TCM. Archeological digs have revealed pins and needles made of bone, ivory, and jade though whether these instruments were used in a manner similar to modern acupuncture needles is still a matter of academic debate. Regardless of the practice’s ultimate age, it remains one of the most distinctive of all forms of alternative medicine.

Acupuncture Basics

Acupuncture is based on the belief that the body contains quantities of subtle vital energy or life force. This vital energy circulates and is found at once in all parts of the body. Ancient practitioners of TCM created visual maps of the energy currents in the human body; these currents are usually called meridians in English.

A healthy balance of energy is necessary for the human body to live. Illness and malady can be caused by an energy flow that has been blocked, interrupted, or otherwise impeded; if symptoms of illness become evident, trained TCM practitioners can examine a patient to determine what sort of rebalancing is necessary to restore the patient to full health.

The Tools of the Trade

A practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine will use a number of items when conducting an acupuncture session. First, they will have a set of very fine, long metal needles. These needles are used to stimulate the body through gentle application. The stimulation of vital energy centers on the body through touch is more accurately called acupressure; acupressure may be performed with the hands or possibly with a therapeutic instrument. Acupuncture needles are used to penetrate the top-most layers of skin in locations believed to be the energy centers in need of treatment. The parts of the body treated with acupuncture needles will depend on the particular complaint being treated. Modern acupuncture needles are made of stainless steel and are used for a single client, than disposed of.

Many acupuncturists also perform moxibustion. Moxibustion is a related practice that is believed to have been developed in Japan as the practice of acupuncture spread throughout east Asia. In moxibustion, a small amount of the herb mugwort is burnt near the energy point being stimulated by the acupuncture needle.

In addition to steel needles and moxibustion materials, an acupuncturists clinic is likely to contain charts and illustrations showing the position of energy meridians on the body, and other diagrams relating to traditional Chinese medicine.

The Future of Acupuncture

While conventional medical science has not fully endorsed the use of acupuncture to treat any and all forms of human illness and disease, there is still considerable research yet to be conducted. There has been some significant findings with regards to acupuncture’s effectiveness when treating nausea and vomiting after surgery. Other forms of pain, such as osteoarthritis, has also positively responded to the application of acupuncture treatments.

Even though conventional medical science has not been able to prove or disprove the usefulness of this ancient healing tradition, it remains one of the most fascinating and complex forms of alternative medicine available to us today.

Lawrence Reaves writes for Solstice Medicine Company, an online store that offeres traditional chinese medicines to help treat many common problems such as allergies, back pain, and muscle pain. For more information about traditional chinese medicine visit this site.

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