Acupuncture - Good Science or Ancient Chinese Paradigm


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The system of inserting and manipulating needles into the human body is known as acupuncture and according to its foundational teachings it helps to maintain and restore health and well-being and is particularly beneficial in the handling of aches and pains.

The World Health Organization has defined and classified acupuncture points and recognizes acupuncture as a medical alternative. It is well known that the origins of acupuncture lie in China and are closely related to most historic Chinese medicines. In addition, there are other forms of acupuncture such as the Japanese, Korean as well as classical Chinese versions which are not only currently being practiced but also taught all around the world today.

The scientific community has been taken a bit by storm while delving into the possibilities of whether acupuncture is actually effective or merely a panacea. There has been many reviews of existing clinical trials which suggest it's effectiveness against headaches, lower back pain and nausea. On the other hand, sufficient evidence has not surfaced to conclusively determine if acupuncture is effective in the treatment of other medical conditions. Nevertheless, there does seem to be a consensus that acupuncture is safe when performed by a well-trained practitioner.

In China, acupuncture dates to the 1st millennium. There is also archeological evidence to clearly show that it could date back as far as the Han Dynasty. Other data also indicates that traditional Korean medicine was known as chimsul while Japanese versions were referred to as Kampo.

Acupuncture doesn't follow the traditional scientific bio-medicine path; rather, it's more of a paradigm whereby it's primary premise centers around the human body as a whole system that involves many sub systems of function. These systems are often associated with physical organs, although some systems do function, such as the triple heater - San Jiao, is not associated with any physical organ.

Disease is considered the end of homeostasis, a defect that develops in the various systems of function and in order to treat such disease, an attempt is made to modify the malfunction using one or more systems through the use of needles, pressure and heat on the bodys receptive areas localized as acupuncture points. This is referred to as “treatment of patterns of disharmony".

Surprisingly, it's not necessary for acupoints to be on the same area of the body. One explanation is because many acupuncturists, especially those in Japan, are heavily dependent on palpation of tender or ashi points. The basic theory behind this form of treatment is that it works by stimulating the meridian system(s) and provides relief through rebalancing the qi, yin and yang. This philosophy is not based on science but rather thousands of years of real world results.

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