Acupuncture For Cynics

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Acupuncture For Cynics
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Introduction to Acupuncture

Most of us have heard of acupuncture, but the truth of the matter is that for many of us, that’s as far as our knowledge of acupuncture goes. We know it involves sticking needles into our body to help relieve pain. But the very idea of needles probably sounds painful. However, this is not really the case.

Acupuncture is a branch of traditional Chinese medicine. This framework of medical practice begins with the belief that our body is a balance of two opposite yet inseparable forces – the yin and yang.

By the same line of thinking, this applies to the entire universe. Yin represents forces such as the cold, the slow and other passive forces, whilst Yang represents heat, excitement and other active forces. It is a combination of these forces and the balance between them that determines our mental and physical well-being.

Another cornerstone of traditional Chinese medicine is the concept of ‘chi’ (pronounced chee). Chi is the life force of the universe. In the body, it is the ‘chi’ that creates and animates life. We are all born with a certain amount of chi and continually acquire it throughout our lives through food, air, water and sunlight. Chi is believed to move through our body in channels called meridians. The quantity and quality of chi in our body depends on the state of our mental and physical balance (as represented by the yin and yang).

In fact, imbalances of the yin and yang in the body block the channels through which chi travels in our body. There are twelve main meridians (channels through which chi – our vital energy – can travel) in our body, eight minor meridians and over 2000 acupuncture points or acupoints which connect these meridians. The practice of acupuncture unblocks these chi pathways, thus ensuring the constant and free flow of energy through our body for mental and physical well being.

Oriental medicine has some basic principles but they are not set in stone. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine at large are tailored and modified to suit each patient. Furthermore there are many different schools of thought.

Traditional Chinese medicine is a complete healthcare system that is capable of providing both specialized and primary healthcare. It also gives us guidelines on how to prevent illnesses.

The bulk of traditional Chinese medicine’s roots lie in Taoism. Taoism is both a religion and a philosophy of life. The main focus of Taoism is the natural laws of the universe and our relationship to the universe.

Some of the basic principles of Taoism are listed below. They must be understood in terms of their applications to health and healing:

•  Basic laws of nature govern the universe. We are a part of this universe and we must exist within that framework and abide by these laws.

•  In its natural order, the universe is perfectly harmonious and perfectly organized. If humans live according to the laws of the universe, they will also be in harmony.

•  Change is the only constant. Our universe is dynamic. If we do not change ourselves in line with the universe, disharmony will prevail. It is this disharmony that will cause sickness or illness of the mind and body.

•  All life is interconnected and interdependent. To ensure overall well being we need to consider the whole before the parts. When curing an illness or sickness we must adopt a systems approach, that is, look at the body as a whole rather than as parts.

•  We are a part of the universe. We are not independent of our universe. In fact, we have an intimate connection with our environment and universe.

Therefore, our spiritual, mental and physical health is affected by our environment and external factors.

The word ‘acupuncture’ literally means ‘pricking with a needle.’ Acupuncture points are, in fact, the focus of acupuncture treatments. Therefore, acupuncture involves the insertion and manipulation of needles into acupuncture points on the body for restoring health and well being.

Acupuncture originated in China more than 2000 years ago – making it one of the oldest and most commonly practiced medical procedures in the world. Research into acupuncture is still ongoing and practices and theories are being constantly updated.

In essence, acupuncture is aimed at promoting well being and alleviating pain. The method may seem alien to many of us but it has been practiced in China and beyond for thousands of years and continues to be validated by scientists even today.

Acupuncture is now practiced the world over to benefit of people of all races, ages and ailments.

Table Of Contents

Introduction to Acupuncture……………………………………………………………………………3

Origins and History……………………………………………………………………………………………5

Conceptual Development……………………………………………………………………………..5

The Practice of Acupuncture………………………………………………………………………..5

The Basics of Chinese Medicine…………………………………………………………………..6

Yin and Yang………………………………………………………………………………………………..6

Chi…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………7

Zang Fu………………………………………………………………………………………………………..7

The Five Elements………………………………………………………………………………………8

Why Acupuncture? – The Scientific Perspective………………………………………….9

Neuro-hormonal Theory………………………………………………………………………………10

Hologram Theory………………………………………………………………………………………….10

Fractal Theory……………………………………………………………………………………………….11

Chaos Theory………………………………………………………………………………………………..11

Physiology and Acupuncture………………………………………………………………………….12

The Channels or Meridians…………………………………………………………………………12

Acupuncture Points/Acupoints……………………………………………………………………13

The Theory behind Acupuncture Points………………………………………………..13

Types of Acupuncture Points…………………………………………………………………..14

Non-Meridian Points…………………………………………………………………………………….15

Types of Acupuncture……………………………………………………………………………………..16

Sonopuncture………………………………………………………………………………………………..17

Electrical Acupuncture…………………………………………………………………………………18

Acupressure…………………………………………………………………………………………………..18

Moxibustion……………………………………………………………………………………………………18

Japanese Acupuncture…………………………………………………………………………………19

Korean Acupuncture…………………………………………………………………………………….19

Trigger Point Acupuncture………………………………………………………………………….19

Laser Acupuncture……………………………………………………………………………………….20

Uses of Acupuncture……………………………………………………………………………………….21

Weight Loss…………………………………………………………………………………………………..21

Headaches……………………………………………………………………………………………………..21

Quitting Smoking………………………………………………………………………………………….22

Insomnia………………………………………………………………………………………………………..23

Martial Arts…………………………………………………………………………………………………….24

Respiratory Problems…………………………………………………………………………………..24

Disorders of the Eye…………………………………………………………………………………….25

Gastro Intestinal Disorders…………………………………………………………………………25

Chronic Pain…………………………………………………………………………………………………..26

How Safe is Acupuncture?……………………………………………………………………………..28

Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………………………………………30

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