While most of us dread the thought of having a needle sometimes they can be very beneficial, especially when the needles are those used in traditional Chinese medicine by way of acupuncture.
Acupuncture is one part of a complete health care system that the Chinese have used and relied on for over 2,000 years. It can be used alone or in combination with herbal remedies and massage therapy.
The basis of acupuncture
The basis behind acupuncture is to unblock the Chi that is said to flow throughout the body along meridian channels. To do this very thin needles are inserted into the body along particular points depending on your problem. This is thought to re-balance the Yin and Yang that is what is causing the illness or problem.
The meridians consist of 12 channels and in the healthy person, the Chi flows freely throughout these around the body. However when a blockage occurs to the Chi a person then becomes ill and the Chinese make use of around 500 different points to unblock the Chi and remedy the illness.
Although the basics and treatment used in acupuncture hasn’t altered in many ways, new ways have been implemented, such as the heating of needles, using ultrasound and electric currents when inserting.
Variations on acupuncture
Along with traditional acupuncture therapy that is still the form most widely practiced today, there are variations such as ear acupuncture. The ear is thought to map out the body organs and by putting pressure, by way of inserting needles into various parts of the ear, many illnesses can be helped and cured. All of the body’s organs have a point on the ear and when correctly inserted into the right place it is said that it can help with not only illness but also bad habits such as smoking. Here a form of acupuncture called staple puncture is used, tiny staples are inserted at key points on the ear and this is said to help people cut the craving for tobacco and thus help them to quit smoking.
The popularity of acupuncture
Acupuncture has gained in popularity in the Western world with around $500 million every year being spent in the USA on acupuncture treatment. It is thought that around 15 million people use it on a regular basis, either alongside traditional Western medicine or as an alternative. It is used for a wide variety of illnesses with some of the most common being back pain, headaches, stopping smoking, allergies and asthma. Today many hospitals and Doctors have realized the benefits that acupuncture does seem to bring and have started implementing and offering treatment alongside more traditional treatments used in the Western world.
While the exact reasons behind why acupuncture seems to work isn’t clear and many Western doctors don’t believe in the “Chi" theory, it can’t be denied that sticking needles into points on the body does seem to have the desired effect. The most successful claims that acupuncture can make is when it comes to pain relieving, the reason why this is thought to be is because the areas where the needles are inserted are surrounded by nerve endings.
Whatever the reasons behind it working, it must work, for over 15 million Americans can’t be wrong.
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