Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine that dates back to 200 BC. Needles are inserted into specific points on the body by trained therapists to alter the balance of energy throughout the body.
Acupunture is an ancient Chinese form of treatment that originated between 2,000 and 5,000 years ago. Legend has it that the physicians treating the wounded soldiers during that period found that those whose injuries came from objects that pierced the skin, like arrows and spears, miraculously recovered from their injuries however serious they were.
This was the basis of acupuncture as the medical officers documented these soldiers' wounds and then began experimenting with skin piercing, using needles, before producing a manual of acupuncture. The very first record of the procedure was in a book published in 200 BC called Huang-di Nei-jung, meaning Inner Classic of the Yellow Emperor.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is becoming increasingly popular as people search for alternative therapies and Chinese herbalists and Medical Centres are appearing on High Streets and in Shopping Malls.
Acupuncture perhaps forms the largest part of Chinese medicine but it also incorporates herbalism, dietary therapy and t'ai chi.
The basis of Acupuncture is to insert fine needles into the skin at the acupoints, the specific locations for the problem the acupuncturist is trying to cure. The needles are used to alter the balance of energy throughout the body and are particularly beneficial when someone is in severe pain.
Acupuncture can be used as a holistic treatment to alter the body's own natural healing energy and promote a feeling of well-being, good health and long life. It also helps patients suffering from painful conditions such as arthritis, pulled muscles and back pain.
Like all Chinese remedies it also involves balancing the opposing forces of Yin and Yang as the Chinese believe all illness is caused by these two elements being out of balance, with one being more dominant than the other. The acupunturist's aim is to cure the disharmony and make the two halves balance equally again. Yin is the feminine, cold, dark, passive side while Yang is masculine, warm, light and active.
When they interrelate and combine together equally they make up the whole and the body and mind remains healthy and pain-free.
Acupunture is founded on the concept of Chi which represents an invisible flow of energy around the body chanelled through 12 pathways, six of which are Yin and six of which are Yan. When Chi flows fluently through the pathways the body is well-balanced but when the energy-flow is disrupted or blocked psychological or emotional problems occur which can produce tremendous pain, just like a physical injury.
There are 365 major acupunture points scattered along these pathways and the acupurist inserts the needles into the relevant points to stimulate the energy flow.
Acupunture works within the nervous system by releasing substances that naturally produce painkillers which have a powerful effect on the pain. This alleviates the necessity for taking strong painkillers in tablet form prescribed by conventional medical practicitioners or bought over the counter at pharmancies.
Acupunture has been widely accepted in orthodox medical establishments and is now practised in hospitals throughout the Western world. A number of registered doctors and physiotherapists have learnt the skills of acupunture and now practice it in their own clinics and surgeries.
The treatment makes people feel better and research has discovered that people suffering from osteo-arthritis have found their knee-pain considerably lessened after acupuncture treatment.
Patients wanting acupuncture should always go to a registered acupuncturist who uses sterile needles that are incredibly thin and are usually only 1-2.5 cm (1/2 - 1 inch) long. They are only inserted into the skin to a depth of a maximum of 5mm (1/4 inch) and these therapists are specifically trained in this practice. It is not something that can be practised at home with ordinary needles.