Acupuncture Therapy is basically a traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) method that evolved thousands of years ago. It is based on the principle that a blockage or disturbance in the flow of the bioenergy, or “qi,” can cause health problems. Acupuncture doctors insert fine needles to specific acupuncture points all over the body to restore the flow of qi, balance the bio energy, stimulate healing, and support relaxation.
As per TCM theory, there are over 1000 acupuncture points on the body, each lying on an unseen energy channel, or “Meridian “Each meridian is connected with a particular organ of the body.
In ancient time the Chinese practitioner’s but called the ‘Chi’ practitioner. The only job of these Chi practitioner’s was to study the pranic energy and treat the disease arising out of it. No medicine or drugs were used. Only mind power and an understanding of the Meridian were involved in the cure. The responsibility of the health of the citizen was in the hand of chi practitioner’s. They were not to treat a patient only when ill but were to ensure that the person did not fall in the first place.
Decline of Acupuncture
Since the 17th century on, the interest in this Acupuncture Therapy declined. It was considered illogical and was laced with superstitions. In 1822 by Emperor’s order acupuncture got excluded from the Imperial Medical Institute. The local rural healers and some scholars having knowledge of this technique continued.
With the rise of Western medicine at the beginning of the 20th century, acupuncture practices further faded into disrepute. However, from 1929 it was prohibited in China along with other forms of traditional medicine.
Revival of Acupuncture
With the arrival of the Communist Government in 1949 revival of the traditional forms of medicine started including acupuncture therapy. Acupuncture research institutes were established in the 1950s throughout Country and the practice became available in several hospitals.
This practice also spread to several other countries. Korea and Japan received knowledge in the 6th century. European physician Ten Rhijne who worked for East India Company described the practice medically in around 1680. Within the first half of the 19th Century, even countries like America and Britain expressed interest in this ancient therapeutic form.
During 1971, a member of the US press corps was under treatment with acupuncture therapy while recovery from an emergency appendectomy in China where he was visiting. His disclosure of the experience in the New York Times laid the path of interest in the success of the procedure.
Acupuncture was eventually accepted in the USA when an NIH consensus conference reported that there were positive testimonials for its effectiveness, at least in some situations.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Though not fully explained how acupuncture might work, there are numerous theories. One theory is that acupuncture works by emitting the release of hormone particularly endorphins, the body’s natural pain-reducer.
Acupuncture is also said to manipulate the autonomic nervous system (which governs bodily functions) and the discharge of chemicals that regulate blood flow and pressure, reduce inflammation, and relax the brain.
What are the Uses of Acupuncture Therapy?
Acupuncture is said to be helpful in controlling a variety of health conditions, including:
- Weight loss
- Pains (such as headaches, back pain, neck pain)
- Sinus congestion
- Stress and anxiety
Some people resort to acupuncture to promote fertility. The beauty industry uses acupuncture technique -known as facial acupuncture, is for improving the appearance of skin. This is the “cosmetic acupuncture”.
What are the Differences between the ear and body acupuncture?
Body acupuncture points are always assessable at the same place. Draw an electrical point detector over the skin and it will give an indication of all the acupuncture points on the body, irrespective of the person under consideration is healthy or sick. The points on the body are always measurable since they are a part of the constant stream of energy in the meridians. This is not the case with the points in the ear. They are either ‘on’ state or ‘off’ state.
Ear Acupuncture points may be measured with a point detector only when they are ‘on’, means when they are active because there is something incorrect with the corresponding part of the body. Ear acupuncture is based on reflex science: each part of the body has a point or zone in the ear where a malfunction in the respective body part registers. This malfunction may then be subject to treatment. A totally healthy human being in perfect balance should have no active points in the ear
What a Typical Acupuncture healing Process is like
The process starts with filling out a complete health history. The acupuncture doctor enquires you about your health concerns, diet, sleep, stress level, and other lifestyle habits. You may also require disclosing your emotions, appetite, food habits, and tolerance to changes in temperature and seasons.
During the actual visit, the acupuncturist will note your appearance carefully, noting your complexion, voice, and tongue color and coating. The doctor will take your pulse at three points on each wrist, noting the strength, and rhythm. According to Chinese medicine, the tongue and pulses are under consideration to reflect the health of your organ systems and meridians.
Classically, an acupuncture doctor will use six to 15 tiny needles per session (the number of needles not related to the intensity of the treatment). The thin needles are often in place for 10 to 20 minutes. Sometimes the acupuncturist may twist the needles for added effect.
Every person who performs acupuncture has a distinctive style, often combining aspects of Eastern and Western approaches to medicine.
This initial evaluation and treatment may take up to one hour. Subsequent sessions usually take about a half-hour. An ordinary treatment plan for a single issue would typically involve one or two treatments a week. The number of treatments will depend on the severity and conditions of the illness under consideration. In general, it’s common to receive six to eight treatments to cure the ailment.
During the procedure
Acupuncture points are present in all areas of the body. Sometimes these appropriate points may be far away from the area of your pain. Your acupuncture doctor will tell you the general site of the planned treatment and whether you need to remove any clothing. They provide A gown, towel or sheet. You require to lie on a padded table for the procedure, which involves:
- Insertion of the Needle. Acupuncture needles are inserted to various depths at calculated points on your body. The needles are very fine, so insertion usually causes little discomfort. People often don’t feel them inserted at all. In General, the practitioner uses five and 15 needles in a typical treatment. You may feel a mild tingling sensation when a needle reaches the appropriate depth. (This gives the answer to the general query- Does acupuncture hurt?)
- Manipulation of Needle. Your acupuncturist may gently move or twist the needles after placement or apply heat or mild electrical pulses to the needles. (Electroacupuncture)
- Removal of Needle. In most cases, the needles remain in place for 10 to 15 minutes while you lie motionless at rest. There is usually no uneasiness after removal of the needles.
Feeling after the treatment
Shreds of evidence show a variety of experience-some said about relaxation and others reported an increase in energy after an acupuncture treatment. Note not everyone responds to acupuncture. If you find that your symptoms don’t begin to improve within a few weeks, acupuncture treatment may not be right for you.
What are the benefits of Acupuncture Therapy?
The profits of acupuncture are sometimes tricky to measure, but in general, people find it helpful as a way to control a variety of painful conditions.
Several pieces of research, however, indicate that some types of pseudo acupuncture appear to work just as well as real acupuncture. There’s also evidence that acupuncture works best in persons who expect it to work. So your thought process has a great effect.
Acupuncture has low side effects, so it may be worth a try if you’re having trouble controlling pain with ingesting medicines or other ways.
Selection of a practitioner
While you’re considering acupuncture, follow the same steps you would choose a doctor:
- Take recommendations from people you trust.
- Look out for the practitioner’s training and credentials. Most states require that non-physician acupuncturists qualify an exam conducted by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
- Know the full procedure before starting. Ask what’s involved in the treatment, how likely it is to improve your condition and also about the cost involved.
- Check out whether your Medical insurance covers the treatment.
Consult your regular doctor you’re considering acupuncture. He or she may guide you and tell you about the success rate of using acupuncture for your condition or recommend an acupuncture practitioner.
Risks under Consideration
The risks of acupuncture are negligible if you have a skilled, certified acupuncture practitioner using sterile needles. Familiar side effects include tenderness and minor bleeding or bruising at needle insertion points. Single-use, disposable needles are now mandatory practice standard, so the risk of infection is minimal. Remember everyone is a good applicant for acupuncture. You may be at threat of difficulties if you:
- Already have a bleeding disorder. Probability of bleeding or bruising from the needles increase if you have a bleeding disorder or if you’re on medicine as blood thinners.
- Implanted a pacemaker. Acupuncture that involves applying mild electrical pulses through the needles can interfere with a pacemaker’s operation.
- In pregnancy. Some types of acupuncture stimulates labor contractions, which may lead to premature delivery.
Q: What are acupuncture School and acupuncture courses?
Ans: Just like the college or universities acupuncture schools deals with holistic health and their guidelines are regulated by CCAOM-Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Acupuncture course varies with institutions. In general to become an acupuncture physician one requires to devote 3-4 yrs . Popular courses offered are
- Master of Acupuncture
- M.Sc in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine(AOM)
- Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (OM)
- Diploma in Acupuncture
- Master in Traditional Oriental Medicine (TOM)
- Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Courses in India: Offered by IGNOU& IANM- both online and short term courses
Q: What is acupuncture Atlas?
Ans: The acupuncture Atlas provides a clear description of the acupuncture points on the body and also the Meridian, so it is easy for the beginners to locate the points on the body. There is various type of atlases available, you can search for them online.
Q: Acupuncture for fertility or infertility treatment
Ans: Some people undergoing infertility treatments also opt for traditional methods like Acupuncture. Acupuncture aids infertility treatment by
- boosting blood flow to reproductive organs
- balancing hormones
- relieving stress
But research done by various scientists does not show any significant data that acupuncture is helpful in generating fertility.
Ans: This finds wide application in weight loss treatments. Obesity can be reversed by increasing metabolism, reducing appetite & stress. According to Chinese medicine; the practitioners believe that weight gain is an effect of imbalance in the body. This imbalance can be at liver, spleen, kidney, thyroid gland or the endocrine system. An acupuncturist targets these areas to treat. Another location for acupuncture in Weight loss is the Ear.
Ending Note: Acupuncture is beneficial to deal with any obstruction in chi flow.
Information on this topic is based on various data available. If you are suffering from any illness please do consult registered practitioners. Never try to treat yourself without expert guidance.