What Are the Benefits of Acupuncture?
The primary benefit that people think of when they think of acupuncture is pain control or relief. However, there are many other benefits as well.
Based upon the premise of how it works, anything that can be treated in western medicine can be treated acupuncturally as well and it does it, generally, without side effects. It virtually illiminates the need for expensive side-effect producing medications.
The benefits of acupuncture include not only treating pain but also treating emotional issues, stress issues, energy issues and almost any other health problem that one may have. And best of all, you receive these benefits of acupuncture naturally.
Acupuncture falls into the category of a natural approach in the healthcare professions. It is generally defined as the insertion of needles into the acupuncture meridians in the body to produce a change in health or an improvement of the body following physical injury or disease.
However, acupuncture includes several other approaches to improving and or maintaining health, and a more appropriate name for this system of health care is meridian therapy.
The term meridian therapy better meets the overall conditions upon which the Chinese system of healing is premised. Traditionally, there have been four different methods of treating the meridians or channels of energy. These include:
As you can see, acupuncture, or needle insertion, describes just one of the methods used in Chinese medicine. Even when needles are used they are used without the introduction of foreign, unnatural substances into the body. Acupuncture is also non-surgical. Because of it's natural approach, the presence of side effects are rare and generally not significant.
It is commonly believed that acupuncture had it's beginnings in China over 5000 years ago. The earliest tools used for production of food and other purposes also begain to be used to treat pain and disease and were known as "bian". During the Han Dynasty (206 BC to AD 220) bian was defined as follows: "Bian means using stone to treat disease."
With time and advances in the understanding of body structure and other procedures such as the introduction of advanced tools and metals, stones were replaced with needles made from bone or bamboo and later with needles made from bronze. Today needles are made from various metals including surgical steel.
It was in the 1600's that traveling missionaries in China observed doctors using needles to cause beneficial healing effects and other changes in the body and the techniques were carried back to France.
Following the needling observations made by the missionaries, the other methods utilized in meridian therapy were also observed and adopted and are currently used in various ways throughout the world.Methods.
In order to receive the benefits of acupuncture, modern day treatment consists, depending upon the practicing acupuncturist, from traditional Chinese approaches to mixtures of that plus western additions. These include:
In addition, each of these may have their unique way of being used, as well as their own benefits of acupuncture.
For example, needling will consider the angle of insertion or the direction of the needle, the depth of insertion, and needle movement such as twisting and spinning or lifting and thrusting. It may also include the attachment of electricity to the needle depending upon the desired effect of the acupunctrist.
The Theory of Chi.
The theory or idea behind meridian therapy is that in addition to the known physical anatomical structures of the body, there is a measurable life force or body vital energy called "chi", (pronounced chee) that circulates throughout the entire body and which has influence on the body both physically and mentally.
When this energy flows normally without any obstructions or hindrances, the body does very well.
This energy travels throughout the body via channels called acupuncture meridians that are mapped out but have no anatomical equivalents. There are twelve main channels that run lengthwise and eight collateral channels that branch off from these. These channels are called meridians.
Over time it was discovered that the stimulation of certain points and/or combinations of points along these channels had positive effects on bodily conditions whether it be disease or other physical issues.
Yin and Yang
One of the primary principles of acupuncture is the idea that there is an optimum balance that must exist throughout life in the body for it to function properly and which balance is needed to both avoid disease and/or to overcome the presence of disease of injury of any sort.
Within each person are opposing, yet complementary, entities called "yin and yang". The chi or vital body energy wich travels within the meridian channels consists of both yin and yang. It is never just yin or yang. "Yin" represents in each person cool, receptive, feminine qualities, while "Yang" represents the warm, masculine, dominate qualities in each person.
When the normal balance of yin and yang are disturbed, disharmony in the body is experienced and disease or illness follows.
The chi flows well or is hindered in it's flow, depending on how yin and yang are balanced together. They each have differing qualities which must be kept in balance to keep a healthy state bodily, mentally, and emotionally.
Examples of these opposites include, but are not limited to,
When imbalance or disharmony in the meridians occurs, it could be compared to a beaver dam, where excess water develops above the dam and deficient water is seen below the dam.
Acupuncture and the other techniques of meridian therapy are done to remove these dams or blockages and thus restore a normal flow of chi or vital body energy - thus bringing about a healthy condition, one of the main benefits of acupuncture.
The acupuncturist, will therefore, seek to maintain or restore a proper balance of chi energy by the various methods talked about above.
Various methods of evaluation will be used and then an appropriate plan of treatment will be determined to balance the opposites of yin and yang and their associated yet complimentary opposites.
The benefits of acupuncture are improved health and well being. I have personally seen some amazing results.
"From the bitterness of disease man learns the sweetness of health." ~Catalan Proverb
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