http://fiveseasonshealthcare.com/files/2010/06/Picture-31.pngPicture 3ACUPUNCTURE’S HISTORY

Acupuncture originated in China approximately three thousand years ago. Despite changing dynasties, modernization, and attempts to eradicate its use, the practice has thrived for one simple reason – it works.

Acupuncture is used by one quarter of the world’s population as a primary health care system because of its efficacy, relatively low cost, and noninvasive nature.  It is used as an alternative or complement to conventional medicine.

WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE?

Acupuncture is a therapy that activates the body’s ability to regenerate and repair itself by stimulating responses in the nervous system. The stimulation is achieved by inserting fine, pre-sterilized, disposable needles into specific points on the surface of the skin.   This virtually painless process may elicit a momentary sense of pressure, tingling or warmth followed by a deep relaxation that often leads to sleep.

In addition to acupuncture, Eastern Medicine offers massage, heat therapy, acupressure, herbal formulas, exercise and nutrition.

WHY ACUPUNCTURE WORKS FROM AN EASTERN PERSPECTIVE

Ancient physicians discovered a network of pathways (meridians) through which the basic life energy (qi or chi) flows. When this energy circulates freely throughout the body, we enjoy health. When the pathways become blocked or imbalanced, we experience lethargy, pain or illness.

Factors which interfere with the flow of energy in the body are pathogens, emotions, diet, lifestyle, injury or climate.  These disruptions may occur suddenly or develop over a period of time.

Acupuncture points are located on the energetic pathways which in turn connect to organs, muscles, blood vessels and nerves in the body.  The stimulation from the needles improves circulation to the tissues and enhances communication among the body systems.

Traditional Chinese Medicine treats both acute and degenerative disorders.  It is also effective in preventing illness by strengthening and balancing the body.

HOW WESTERN MEDICINE VIEWS ACUPUNCTURE

Although acupuncture’s effectiveness is not fully understood by western science, it has been demonstrated that the body responds to the therapy.  With the aid of technology and documented studies, researchers have determined that acupuncture.

  • Releases endorphins to reduce pain and stress
  • Reduces inflammation and relaxes muscle
  • Influences gastrointestinal and endocrine functions
  • Improves circulation and lowers blood pressure
  • Affects blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides

The World Health Organization has cited acupuncture to treat 43 conditions including:

Addiction-alcohol, drug, smoking Facial palsy/tics Pneumonia
Anxiety Fatigue Reproductive problems
Arthritis Fertility Rhinitis
Asthma Fibromyalgia Sciatica
Bronchitis Gingivitis Seasonal Affective Disorder
Carpal tunnel Headache
Chronic fatigue Hiccups Shoulder pain
Colitis Incontinence Sinusitis
Common Cold Indigestion Sleep problems
Constipation IBS Sore throat
Dental Pain Low back pain Stress
Depression Menopause Tennis elbow
Diarrhea Menstrual problems Tonsillitis
Digestive trouble Migraine Trigeminal neuralgia
Dizziness Morning sickness Urinary tract infection
Dysentery Nausea Vomiting
Emotional problems Pain Wrist pain
Eye problems PMS

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The National Institutes of Health (NIH)<, the most influential agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, is responsible for biomedical and health-related research.  At a conference in 1997, NIH stated:

The data in support of acupuncture is as strong as those for many accepted western medical therapies.  One of the advantages of acupuncture is that the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs or other accepted medical procedures used for the same conditions.”

 

 

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has funded extensive research to advance scientific understanding of acupuncture. Some recent NCCAM-supported studies have investigated

  • how acupuncture works for specific conditions such as chronic low-back pain, headache, and osteoarthritis of the knee
  • ways to identify the potential neurological properties of meridians and acupuncture points.
  • methods and instruments for improving the quality of acupuncture research.