Acupuncture is an alternative form of medicine and is the essential element of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The fundamental technique involved is the insertion of needles into the body through identified acupuncture points. It is also connected with the application of heat, laser and pressure on these points and commonly applied as a remedy for pain relief and a range of other ailments.
There exists a diverse range of acupuncture methods that have their sources in different schools of philosophy. However, the traditional Chinese method has been adopted in the US and other countries as well. Acupuncture is a safe mode of treatment but should be used by trained hands. It involves the application of single-use sterilized needles. There is an age-old belief that the efficacy of the system would largely depend upon the lunar, celestial and other natural and cosmic cycles, the pair of yin and yang energies and the rhythm of the body of the patient to whom the treatment is delivered.
Acupuncture is certainly one of the oldest medical practices among the traditional Chinese medicine. It featured in the ‘ Yellow Emperors classic of internal medicines ‘ known as Huangdi Neijing around 100 BC. From the excavations in the tomb of Liu Sheng around 100 BCE, gold and silver needles were unearthed which might have been the earliest confirmation of the acupuncture practice. Another theory goes that the historical record of acupuncture was in Shih Chi written by a historian around 100 BC. It is thought that the text documented the medical practice prevalent at that time.
The famous 5000 years old mummified carcass of the Otzi iceman was dug up with an evidence of 15 groups of tattoo marks. This suggests that a treatment very similar to acupuncture was being practiced in Europe as well 5000 years ago.
The practice of acupuncture is believed to have been prevalent in the Neolithic Era as well using pointy headstones called Bian Shi. According to the historians Lu Gwen Djen and Joseph Needham, there is enough evidence that acupuncture was a regular medical practice around 600 BC.
The principles of acupuncture state that there is a flow of energy called Chi through the body of every living being. According to the Chinese traditional philosophy, Chi is responsible for creation and sustenance of life. This energy inside our body flows through a number of channels known as meridians, which are responsible for proper functioning of our organs. Each meridian corresponds to a specific organ. There are meridians for our heart, lungs, brain, kidney, urinary bladder, liver, reproductive organs and so on.
The acupuncture meridians have both positive and negative orientation called the Yang and Yin energies. These two are complementary and one cannot exist in the absence of the other. One is male and the other is female with energies of opposite nature radiating from them.
Yin energies flow through hollow organs like intestine and stomach. Yang flows through solid organs like the heart and liver. In a healthy person, the yin and yang are in dynamic equilibrium. The net energies of these opposite nature balance each other. In a sick person, the energies get out of balance. Acupuncture is needed to control the meridians for the restoration of balance.
Very thin needles slightly thicker than the human hair is penetrated in the skin through the acupuncture points. The basic objective is to regularize the flow of Chi. This regularization would bring the Yang and Yin energies to a state of dynamic equilibrium improving the condition of the patient. For example, back pain can be eliminated shortly after application of acupuncture.
The selection of the acupuncture points is crucial to curing the disease. This can be achieved by an experienced acupuncturist. He is acquainted with the function of each acupoint and their interaction with other acupoints, which is the key to success of this kind of treatment.
Apart from instant remedies like removal of backache, acupuncture has long term benefits too which are as follows:
– Reduces stress .
– Infuses you with vital energy.
– Clarifies the thought process.
– Gives a relaxed break to gather energy.
– Helps get deep and peaceful slumber.
– Helps think positively about food choices.
– Helps accept changes and innovations.
– Makes you more composed.
– Builds endurance.
– Boosts confidence.