Acupuncture is the insertion of hair-thin solid needles into the body at specific points to stimulate a natural physiological response by improving the flow of Qi (prana). The needles are sterile, stainless steel, single-use needles that are immediately disposed of in an approved biohazard container.
WHAT ACUPUNCTURE DOES:
Traditional acupuncture focusses on correcting the underlying cause of illness which will be different for every individual. As a result, no set point prescription will be the same.
Traditional acupuncturists are trained to use subtle diagnostic techniques that have been developed and refined over thousands of years. We focus on the individual, not just their illnes. Because every person is unique, two people with the same western diagnosis will each receive different and unique acupuncture treatments.
The underlying principle of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture is that illness and pain occur when the body’s Qi (vital energy, also known as Prana in Ayurveda), cannot flow freely. Qi is the animating force behind all forms of life. Qi circulates within and around the body and can easily be accessed through specific points on the body’s energy meridians. These meridians can become obstructed, in much the same way as a trapped nerve or blocked artery. This can be due to emotional and physical stress, poor nutrition, infection, or trauma.
Most people are aware that acupuncture is an excellent remedy for many types of pain. But acupuncture can also reduce stress, help with weight loss and smoking withdrawal, and provide dramatic improvement of digestive complaints. Alone or as an adjunct to Western medicine, acupuncture provides highly effective treatment for many common complaints, and may provide additional relief for problems that do not respond completely to Western medical treatment. If you suffer from lower back pain, digestive complaints, neck and shoulder pain, PMS or painful cramps, headaches, or one of many other medical conditions, acupuncture can help you. Acupuncture has been found to be of benefit in knee osteoarthritis by NIH study from 2004.
Acupuncture has been practiced for over 5 thousand years:
The history of acupuncture can be traced back through four thousand years to crude stone precursors of modern needles. Archeological findings from the Shang Dynasty (c. 1300 BCE) reveal early medical notations, and by the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE) there is evidence of a complex Oriental medical system. Acupuncture continues to evolve and has grown to meet the growing demand for safe, clinically effective and affordable health care in the West. In fact, it has been shown so effective that the World Health Organization has selected it for worldwide propagation. In November of 1997, acupuncture was officially sanctioned by the National Institutes of Health for treatment of nausea and dental pain, and clinical research exploring its many other applications continues to be reviewed.
HOW ACUPUNCTURE WORKS:
According to traditional Chinese medical theory, acupuncture promotes the body’s innate ability to heal itself by regulating and balancing the flow of Qi (“chee”) along channels identified over centuries of meticulous clinical observation by Chinese practitioners. Literally, Qi translates as air or breath, however a precise translation alludes us as it is near impossible to concisely describe its essence. Often described as the body’s electromagnetic energy or life force, Qi is the invisible subtle force contained within every thing; it is energy, function, and information. Tiny needles are inserted along these channels at areas of maximum energy – the acupuncture points. Although the physiological effects of acupuncture are still being studied, scientists have identified that insertion of acupuncture needles stimulates endorphins – the body’s natural opiates – thus reducing pain and creating a feeling of well-being. This helps explain why acupuncture is so successful in treating many types of pain, yet is not enough to account for acupuncture’s marked effectiveness in the treatment of a wide range of diseases and physical conditions. Other proposed mechanisms of action include: CNS (central nervous system) influence, hormonal regulation, circulatory affect, etc. On-going research efforts both in China and the West will one day provide increased scientific evidence for the remarkable efficacy of this ancient art.
DOES ACUPUNCTURE HURT?
Often people are interested in acupuncture but afraid of needles. However, the tiny disposable filament needles used for acupuncture bear no resemblance to painful hypodermic needles, and insertion is usually painless. Needling sensations vary from a brief pinching or stinging sensation to a feeling of numbness or distention and are a sign that the treatment is having a positive effect. In fact, most people find acupuncture treatments relaxing and refreshing.
Marmapuncture is based on the ancient ayurvedic principles which were established more than 2500 years ago.
Marmapuncture is the external application of sterile single-use-only disposable needles on specific marma points which correspond to specific nadi channels of the body. These nadi channels connect with chakras of the body.
Marmapuncture is similar to acupuncture treatments in that the needles are inserted on specific points and left for approximately 20 minutes or more and then removed. Marmapuncture aims at restoring internal energetic balances of the body which have been injured through daily stresses and strains of modern living (diet and lifestyle, pollution and travel to name a few). It encourages the smooth flow between interacting chakra centres of the body which govern overall health and wellbeing.
The difference between traditional acupuncture and marmapuncture is that the former is based on the principles of Chinese Medicine, and the concept of qi, yin and yang and the latter is based on the principles of Ayurveda, chakras and dosha. The points are very similar to one another although marmapuncture can involve several extra points which correlate to specific chakras of the body.
WHO MIGHT CHOOSE ACUPUNCTURE CARE?
1. People whose conditions haven’t responded to biomedical (standard) care–they’ve “tried everything” without success.
2. People with special problems, such as:
those who “have nothing wrong” by lab test but still don’t feel well
People who have multiple problems that require them to see a whole lot of biomedical physicians (MDs), yet suspect a holistic approach might help all at once
People with fragile conditions who dare not have surgery
People with drug sensitivties
Former drug abusers who must avoid pharmaceuticals
Persons looking to be proactive with their health in a preventative approach. TCM can be applied as a preventative to be included in a
pro-wellness type lifestyle.
3. People who dislike, fear, or resist the options offered by other medicines.
4. People with conditions that will benefit from combined approach for, example, Chinese medicine plus biomedicine, or Chinese medicine plus massage therapy/chiropractic/manipulative osteopathy:
nausea of pregnancy
trauma and acute pain conditions
pre-surgery preparation and post-surgery recovery
post stroke recovery
care of musculoskeletal complaints
|Conditions Appropriate for Acupuncture Therapy
|Source: World Health Organization United Nations. “Viewpoint on Acupuncture.” 19 19 (revised).|