The art and science of acupuncture originated in China several thousand years ago. It is based on the understanding, in traditional Chinese medicine, that a person’s vital energy (chi) flows along meridians, or pathways, throughout the body.
Disruptions in this flow of energy cause pain and disease.
The Chinese discovered that by inserting extremely thin needles at certain points along these meridians, they could stimulate circulation and the flow of energy, trigger the activity of the body’s own painkillers, and promote healing.
Acupuncture was known and used in Europe for many years before it spread to the U.S. It is becoming more widely accepted in the mainstream, with some insurance companies now covering treatments.
The World Health Organization (WHO) lists 40 conditions for which acupuncture has been proven to be an effective treatment, and many more for which it’s been shown to be effective but not exhaustively proven.
Acupuncture can help with many of the conditions that make us miserable. Among them are nausea following chemotherapy, headache, back and neck pain, arthritis, sciatica, returned sensation in numb limbs, anxiety and sleep disorder to name a few.
As further evidence of the extent to which acupuncture is becoming accepted in the U.S., we read that in early 2009, the U.S. Air Force began teaching “Battlefield Acupuncture” to doctors deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. Doctors were able to reduce both the pain level and the amount of painkillers needed by post-surgery wounded soldiers.
Another proof of the effectiveness of acupuncture is the rise in its use as part of veterinary medicine.
What is Acupuncture?
“When there is flow, there is no pain. When there is pain, the flow is blocked.”
– Ancient Chinese saying
Westerners unfamiliar with acupuncture may react with disbelief when treatment is recommended to them.
Fearful of Western medicine’s large needles, they are pleasantly surprised to discover that the needles used in acupuncture are as thin as a strand of hair. Many people don’t feel them going in. Others barely feel them.
“When are you going to put the needles in? I’m getting nervous,” is a refrain many practitioners hear—after they’ve inserted all the needles.
In the majority of cases, once the needles are inserted, the patient enters a state of deep relaxation, falling asleep and waking up in a peaceful, tranquil state of mind. This additional benefit is why more and more people make continuous use of acupuncture part of their overall health regime.
When performed correctly by a trained practitioner, acupuncture is a very safe method of treating pain and many other conditions. It is indicated for patients who may not want to take pain medications, or who don’t respond to those medicines. These sterilized prepackaged high quality needles are never reused.