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Information about Acupuncture and Acupuncturists
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical procedure involving insertion and manipulation of needles at more than 1000 points in the human body. Applied to relieve pain during surgery or in rheumatic conditions, and to treat many other conditions- anxiety/depression, arthritis, asthma, pain, eczema, sports injuries, allergies and hayfever, migraine, menstrual disorders, gastrointestinal problems and pregnancy management and delivery........

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Acupuncture and Acupuncturists Information

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical procedure involving insertion and manipulation of needles at more than 1000 points in the human body. Applied to relieve pain during surgery or in rheumatic conditions, and to treat many other conditions- anxiety/depression, arthritis, asthma, pain, eczema, sports injuries, allergies and hayfever, migraine, menstrual disorders, gastrointestinal problems and pregnancy management and delivery.
Acupuncture is used today in most hospitals in China and increasingly by practitioners in Europe, and the United States. Acupuncture has grown in popularity in the United States since the 1970s and is now widely regarded as a safe and effective treatment for a variety of conditions.
The Chinese and other eastern peoples have been using acupuncture to restore, promote and maintain good health for about 2,500 years, originally stone needles were used, and later bronze, gold and silver needles. The first medical account of acupuncture was ‘The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine’ which dates from about 300 BC. Acupuncture is rooted in the Taoist philosophy of change, growth, balance and harmony, and this text outlines the principles of natural law and the movements of life - yin and yang, the Five Elements, the organ system and the meridian network along which acupuncture points are located
Acupuncture originated in China over 2,000 years ago and is one of the oldest and most commonly performed types of medical procedure. The literal meaning of Acupuncture is “needle piercing.” As the name suggests, the procedure of Acupuncture and Acupuncturist involves penetrating the skin with solid, metallic needles that are very thin.

According to Chinese medicine, the body transmits energy or qi (pronounced chee) through pathways or meridians in the body. The unimpeded flow of this energy, along with a balanced Yin and Yang, account for a person's overall health. Acupuncture targets more than 2,000 acupuncture points along these pathways to ensure the proper flow of energy through the body.

What to expect from an acupuncturist
The therapist will ask you to sit or lie on a treatment couch. You may remain fully clothed or be asked to remove outer garments.

He or she will then feel 12 pulses - including one for each internal organ - along the radial artery on the outside of each wrist. The abdomen and certain acupuncture points may also be checked for tenderness or pain.

Next, the colour, shape and coating of the tongue, face and skin are checked for signs indicating those internal organs that have problems. The sound of your voice, your breath and any body odours will be noted and questions asked to confirm the diagnosis.

Acupuncture points will then be selected for treatment and needles inserted, either by hand or through a guide tube. This should be quick and painless. Some people feel a mild sensation as the needles are inserted, but this usually passes quickly.

Most modern acupuncturists use disposable stainless steel needles of fine diameter (0.007" to 0.020", 0.18mm to 0.51 mm), sterilized with ethylene oxide or by autoclave. The upper third of these needles is wound with a thicker wire (typically bronze), or covered in plastic, to stiffen the needle and provide a handle for the acupuncturist to grasp while inserting. The size and type of needle used, and the depth of insertion, depend on the acupuncture style being practiced

As few as one or two or more than 20 needles may be used in treatment and they are usually left in for 15 to 30 minutes. A course of ten treatments at weekly intervals is common.

Acupuncture is becoming accepted by the general public and by doctors. Over fifteen million Americans in 1994 tried acupuncture. A poll of American doctors in 2005 showed that 60% believe acupuncture was at least somewhat effective, with the percentage increasing to 75% if acupuncture is considered as a complement to conventional treatment

In the United Kingdom, British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) members observe the Code of Safe Practice with standards of hygiene and sterilisation of equipment. Members use single-use pre-sterilised disposable needles. Similar standards apply in most jurisdictions in the United States and Australia.

History of Acupuncture
For a very long time, it has been thought that Acupuncture had originated in China then spread into Asia,[citation needed] spawning a variety of techniques, treatment styles, and theoretical frameworks. This is until in 1991 when a 5,000-year-old mummified man was found in the Otz valley along the mountainous border between Austria and Italy. The mummy's body is remarkably well preserved and displays a complicated system of bluish-black tattoos running along its back, right knee and left ankle. A group of scientists from the University of Graz in Austria have theorized a possible relationship between the tattoos and traditional acupuncture points. Their findings, first published in The Lancet in 1999 and updated in Discover magazine in 2000, purport to show that a system of healing quite similar to traditional acupuncture may have been in use in central Europe more than 2,000 years earlier than previously believed.

In China, the practice of acupuncture can perhaps be traced as far back as the 1st millennium BC,[citation needed] and archeological evidence has been identified with the period of the Han dynasty (from 202 BC to 220 AD)[citation needed]. Forms of it are also described in the literature of traditional Korean medicine where it is called chimsul. It is also important in Kampo, the traditional medicine system of Japan.

Recent examinations of Ötzi, a 5000-year-old mummy found in the Alps, have identified over fifty tattoos on his body, some of which are located on acupuncture points that would today be used to treat ailments Ötzi suffered from. Some scientists believe that this is evidence that practices similar to acupuncture were practiced elsewhere in Eurasia during the early bronze age[1], [2].

Acupuncture's origins in China are uncertain. The earliest Chinese medical texts (Ma-wang-tui graves 68 BC) do not mention acupuncture. The Chinese medical text that first describes acupuncture is The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine (History of Acupuncture), which was compiled around 305–204 B.C. Some hieroglyphics have been found dating back to 1000 B.C. that may indicate an early use of acupuncture.[citation needed] Bian stones, sharp pointed stones used to treat diseases in ancient times, have also been discovered in ruins (History of Acupuncture in China); some scholars believe that the bloodletting for which these stones were likely used presages certain acupuncture techniques [3].

RC Crozier in the book Traditional medicine in modern China (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1968) says the early Chinese Communist Party expressed considerable antipathy towards classical forms of Chinese medicine, ridiculing it as superstitious, irrational and backward, and claiming that it conflicted with the Party’s dedication to science as the way of progress. Acupuncture was included in this criticism. Reversing this position, Communist Party Chairman Mao later said that "Chinese medicine and pharmacology are a great treasure house and efforts should be made to explore them and raise them to a higher level"[4]. Representatives were sent out across China to collect information about the theories and practices of Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM is the formalized system of Chinese medicine that was created out of this effort. TCM combines the use of Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, tui na and other modalities. After the Cultural Revolution, TCM instruction was incorporated into university medical curricula under the "Three Roads" policy, wherein TCM, biomedicine and a synthesis of the two would all be encouraged and permitted to develop. After this time, forms of classical Chinese medicine other than TCM were outlawed, and some practitioners left China. The first forms of acupuncture to reach the United States were brought by non-TCM practitioners, many employing styles that had been handed down in family lineages, or from master to apprentice (collectively known as "Classical Chinese Acupuncture"). (with thanks to Wikipedia)

Acupuncture is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) known to have been used in China for over 2000 years. It is thought by many to have its origins more than 5000 years ago, and it is based on the theories and teaching of early Chinese medical philosophers.
The word acupuncture is derived from the Latin -- acus (needle) and punctura (to puncture) as this suggests, the procedure of Acupuncture involves the Acupuncturist penetrating the skin with very thin (", 0.18mm to 0.51 mm dia.) solid, metallic needles.
These sterilised and disposable needles are inserted into acupuncture points (acupoints) throughout the body, producing no more than a tingling feeling. These acupoints relate to specific organs of the patients body. Traditional Chinese Medicine traditionally estimates that there are more than 2,000 acupuncture points that can be used.

Most treatments involve only one or two needles but occasionally 20 needles may be used depending on the patient and type of treatment that is required.

The needles are usually left in for 10 to 20 minutes and courses of ten treatments usually at weekly intervals are often required.

Acupuncture has seen a rapid growth in Western countries and is now generally accepted by the general public and by many doctors, with an estimated one in three GP surgeries making Acupuncture available to patients.
Acupuncture is used for a wide range of physical ailments which include arthritis, asthma, neuralgia, high blood pressure, skin conditions, bronchitis, insomnia, and pain of many kinds. It is also thought to be helpful for emotional problems, including anxiety and depression, and is often used to treat alcohol and drug addiction.
Other conditions where acupuncture has been found to be successful is headache, and has proven to be beneficial for many patients with chronic headache, particularly migraine.

The World Health Organisation has a long list of conditions it feels acupuncture can treat: (whether many acupuncturists would make the same claims is debatable)

Acupuncture – The Five Element Theory
The Five Element Theory is a theory developed by Ancient Chinese philosophers that is still widely used today in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It was through observation of nature that they came to believe it was possible to predict how natural changes, within our bodies, and outside environment can affect our health. Practitioners used the relationship of five elements and the meridians (channels) of energy within the human body to bring conflicting body forces back into balance.

The five elements were described as:-
• Wood
• Fire
• Earth
• Metal
• Water

These were identified as the five elemental forces embodied in the natural world. Each of these elemental forces is also associated with major organs of the body. By use of the properties these elements possess, coupled with how the Yin/Yang balance of the body is structured, it is possible to correct any imbalance of the body, and hence, potential illness can be averted or arrested.

The Yin and Yang concept is a basic principle of Traditional Chinese Medicine, they are terms used to describe the balance of any item in nature. These two forces are said to be in confliction and must always be in balance for the item to be in its natural state. So if the Yang is described as "hot", the Yin will be described as "cold, any imbalance of these forces will be seen as a major contributor to ill health.

A simple example that illustrates how both these concepts are used could be :-
If the diagnosis of a patient shows an excessive Yang condition in an energy related to a "fire" element, it can be assumed that this is being caused by the opposing Yin condition being in the "water" element (i.e. there is not enough water to control the fire), or they may find a Yang condition in the in the "wood" element (i.e. too much wood is feeding the fire). If you now consider the "fire" as the heart, the "water" as the kidneys, and the "wood" as the liver, you can begin to see the concept of interaction/balance and how a typical treatment may be constructed.
(for a more in depth explanation visit the website Acupuncture Guide)

Traditional Chinese Medicine still uses this ancient, diagnostic method to analyse how the various parts of a person's body and mind can interact to affect their health and wellbeing. Modern acupuncturists also use the five element theory but in varying degrees depending on the individual practitioner and what style of acupuncture they practice.

Acupuncture and Moxibustion
Moxibustion is a type of traditional Chinese treatment used in conjunction with acupuncture and acupressure. It is a process where moxa (a dried herb - mugwort) is burned directly on the skin or indirectly above it. The purpose of moxibustion, as with most forms of Traditional Chinese Medicine, is to stimulate and strengthen the flow of blood and Qi (vital energy), in order to maintain and improve general health.

There are two main moxibustion techniques.

• Direct moxibustion: A small, cone-shaped amount of moxa is placed on top of an acupuncture point and burned on the skin. If the moxa is allowed to burn right down to the skin some scarring may occur. Direct moxibustion is a traditional technique considered to be very therapeutic, and nowadays it is very infrequent that the moxa will actually be allowed to burn down to the skin.

• Indirect moxibustion: This is now accepted as the most popular form of moxibustion in many countries including China. Generally the treatment will involve the practitioner lighting one end of a moxa stick ( dried moxa herbs rolled into a stick shape which is roughly the size of a small cigar) which he/she holds an inch or two away from the skin, near the appropriate acupressure/acupuncture points. Alternatively the moxa sticks can be cut into small lengths of approximately 1 – 3 cms., these are attached to specially designed acupuncture needles and lit before being inserted into the acupuncture points. The heat produced by the burning moxa not only warms the skin but it is drawn through the needle into the channel associated with the acupuncture point.

Moxibustion therapy is generally used in conjunction with acupressure and acupuncture. It has been clinically effective for the treatment of more common conditions such as acute and chronic pain (frozen shoulder, back pain, muscle stiffness, tendonitis, arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome). Moxibustion has also been used to treat menstrual discomfort and pain, and turn breech babies.

David Bates

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Read much more about Acupuncture in one of these excellent books.....



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Acupuncture Facts
Acupuncture FAQ's

Acupuncture -How it Works

Acupuncture - Tools and Techniques

Acupuncture - Needling Techniques

Five Element Theory

What is moxabustion

What is Cupping

What is Qi

What are Meridians