Acupuncture comes from a complete system of medicine and healing known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM has been practiced for over 5,000 years and has been selected by the World Health Organization for worldwide propagation to meet the health care needs of people around the world into the 21st century. Acupuncture is one of 4 bodies which make up Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the others including Moxabustion, Tui Na Chinese Massage and Chinese Herbal Medicinals. Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine, sterile needles into specific points to promote healing and stop pain. In Chinese Medicine, acupuncture helps to active "Qi" or the body's energy to harmonize and optimize the functions of the internal organs and the entire body.
The Chinese art of acupuncture dates back over 2000 years.
Acupuncture was first introduced into Europe in the 17th Century, but up until the recent twentieth century, much of the world knew little about it, its origins and its capacity to promote and maintain good health.
One of the most important concepts of Chinese medicine is that of natural balance - yin and yang. When such a proper balance of forces exists, the body has achieved a healthy circulation of the life force qi (roughly pronounced "chee").
Qi is said to travel the body along channels called "meridians". Qi flows constantly up and down these pathways and when the flow of qi is insufficient, unbalanced, or interrupted, yin and yang become unbalanced and illness may occur.
An understanding of the relationship between the body, yin and yang, and qi is necessary to understand the utility of acupuncture.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles into the skin (sometimes in combination with electrical stimulus or with heat produced by burning specific herbs, called Moxibustion) at specific points in order to influence the functioning of the body.
Traditionally, there are 365 acupoints on the body, most of which have a specific energetic function. Because the needles are so fine only a slight discomfort may be felt. Alternatively, the acupuncturist may apply pressure (acupressure) rather than inserting needles.
Acupuncture can be used to boost the body's natural healing energy in order to promote health and long life, or to treat specific physical and psychological illnesses or complaints.
Modern research shows that acupuncture can affect most of the body's systems - the nervous system, muscle tone, hormone outputs, circulation, antibody production and allergic responses, as well as the respiratory, digestive, urinary and reproductive systems.
Acupuncture also stimulates the nerves in skin and muscle and increases the body's release of natural painkiller - endorphin and serotonin.
Acupuncture can help to treat such conditions as: Pain - including migraines, period pains, backache, trapped nerves, frozen shoulder and other kinds of arthritic and rheumatic pain. It can also be useful in relieving post-operative and post injury pain, such as following sports injuries. Allergic reactions - such as asthma, hayfever and eczema Depression - including stress and anxiety Sinus problems - and chronic catarrh Skin problems - such as mouth ulcers, dermatitis, pruitus (itching) and excessive sweating Nausea and vomiting Abdominal and bowel problems Giving up smoking Eating disorders and drug addiction Insomnia High blood pressure Withdrawal from alcohol Menstrual problems Menopause