Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine?
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine has been used as healing arts
for over 2,500 years. The general theory is based on the premise
that there are patterns of energy flow called Qi (pro-nounced chee)
through out the body which are related to the organs and tendino-muscular
system. According to that ancient tradition, health is achieved through the harmonious balance between the opposing forces of yin (spirit) and yang (blood). The attraction between them creates an energy known as
Qi , which flows to all parts of the body through channels called meridians, pathways that run along the surface of the body and branch into the body's interior. When the energy flow is disrupted due to trauma, poor
diet, medications, stress, or other conditions, pain or illness
result, Acupuncture focuses on correcting these imbalances of
energy flow by inserting ultra-thin needles under the skin to
stimulate specific points in the body. Stimulation unblocks the
channels and encourages an even flow of Qi, restoring the body's
balance and relieving pain and other symptoms.
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine is one of the newest primary
health care professions in the united States. The benefits of
acupuncture have become widely recognized and integrated with
mainstream health care.
What Should You
Expect During Treatment?
An important method of diagnosis used
by acupuncturists involves analyzing the pulses of a patient.
Six pulses are felt on each wrist, corresponding to the major
body organs and functions. Each pulse is located at a specific
position on the wrists, and each one is believed to tell the exact
state of the different organs or functions. Other diagnostic methods
include questioning the patient regarding symptoms and living
habits, careful observation of the patientˇ¦s tongue, facial and
body coloring as well as observation of skin texture and temperature
distribution on different body areas.
points are cleaned with cotton, dipped in alcohol, and sterilized
needles are inserted along the appropriate meridians. Acupuncture
needles are of different lengths and gauges, but are generally
hair-thin, solid, and made of stainless steel. Although it is
not mandatory, most acupuncturists, in order to protect both the
acupuncturist and patients from blood borne pathogens, use presterilized,
disposable needles. The part of the body into which the needles
are put will often appear to bear no relation to the site of disease
or symptoms. The depth of the needle insertion varies, depending
on the points being used. Most needles are inserted just below
the skinˇ¦s surface, but some may go from a depth of a quarter
inch to as much as three inches. In most cases the needle insertion
can hardly be felt by the patient. Usually there is only a brief
sensation as the needle is inserted, and it is rarely painful.
Once the needles are in place, they generally cannot be felt.
Sometimes an electrical current is used
to further enhance the stimulation of the acupuncture points.
Individual wires are clipped to one or more of the needles. The
acupuncturist adjusts electrical current to the level where the
patient is able to feel a slight tingling sensation. The needles
may also be manipulated in twirling or push-pull movements. Moxibustion
can also be used in conjunction with acupuncture. It may consist
of rolling a ball of dried herb (mugwort) around the needleˇ¦s
shaft and lighting it so that the needle is warmed. This has the
effect of reinforcing the needleˇ¦s action. Another method is to
pass a burning moxa stick back and forth over the appropriate
body area just close enough to give a comfortable heat. Moxibustion
is generally used only for a few minutes and only for certain
types of physical disorders.