What is Acupuncture?
A state licensed, clean-needle certified acupuncturist trained in Oriental medical theory, diagnosis, and treatment planning selects points that, when activated by the insertion of needles, work together to restore the natural flow of Qi, re-establishing a more natural energetic state and thus restoring a body’s innate healing capacity. Single-use, pre-sterilized, flexible stainless steel acupuncture needles are carefully inserted according to clean-needle protocol to specified depth and angle, avoiding bones, nerves and blood vessels. The insertion site is first cleaned with an alcohol swab and the needle is discarded in a sharps container after use.
Acupuncture, far from being a “new trend” has been practiced in the East for over 3000 years and is still a vital part of medical practice even in China where it was nearly eradicated during the Cultural Revolution. However, when the newly adopted Western medical practices failed to address war-time health epidemics, acupuncture and herbal medicine succeeded and have enjoyed a place of respect in Communist China medicine ever since.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
The practice of acupuncture is based on the theory of Qi and its pathways in the body known as meridians. Qi can be thought of as “life force” or bio-energy, that which makes us alive, animates us, causes growth, development, healing, and makes possible all the biological functions in the body that require not only energy but direction on a cellular level.
According to theory, Qi moves in the body via designated pathways called meridians much like blood pulses through the circulatory system in blood vessels or like nerve impulses move about the nervous system. Blockages in any of these systems cause pain, loss of function or sensation, and eventually disease or even death. The same is true of Qi; it must move along its designated courses without obstruction, in the correct direction, and within given speed and volume tolerations in order for there to be optimal health.
When Qi does not move in a healthy pattern, acupuncture needles can be inserted at designated points along the meridians to correct the dysfunction. Each point has its unique location, angle, depth, precautionary specifications as well as actions and indications.
What can Acupuncture treat?
The World Health Organization published the following list in 2003:
Diseases and disorders that can be treated with acupuncture
The diseases or disorders for which acupuncture therapy has been tested in controlled clinical trials reported in the recent literature can be classified into four categories as shown below.
1. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture has been shown through controlled trials to be an effective treatment:
Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy
Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
Dysentery, acute bacillary
Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)
Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
Headache Hypertension, essential
Low back pain
Malposition of fetus, correction of Morning sickness
Nausea and vomiting
Neck pain Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction)
Periarthritis of shoulder
2. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which the therapeutic effect of acupuncture has been observed but for which further study is ongoing:
Abdominal pain (in acute gastroenteritis or due to gastrointestinal spasm)
Alcohol dependence and detoxification
Cholecystitis, chronic, with acute exacerbation
Competition stress syndrome
closed Diabetes mellitus,
Epidemic haemorrhagic fever
Epistaxis, simple (without generalized or local disease)
Eye pain due to subconjunctival injection
Female urethral syndrome
Fibromyalgia and fasciitis
Hepatitis B virus carrier status
Herpes zoster (human (alpha) herpesvirus 3)
Male sexual dysfunction, non-organic
Opium, cocaine and heroin dependence
Osteoarthritis Pain due to endoscopic examination
Pain in thromboangiitis obliterans
Polycystic ovary syndrome (Stein-Leventhal syndrome)
Postextubation in children
Pruritus Radicular and pseudoradicular pain syndrome
Raynaud syndrome, primary
Recurrent lower urinary-tract infection
Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
Retention of urine, traumatic
Sore throat (including tonsillitis)
Spine pain, acute
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
Ulcerative colitis, chronic
Whooping cough (pertussis)
3. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which there are only individual controlled trials reporting some therapeutic effects, but for which acupuncture is worth trying because treatment by conventional and other therapies is difficult:
Choroidopathy, central serous
Irritable colon syndrome
Neuropathic bladder in spinal cord injury
Pulmonary heart disease, chronic
Small airway obstruction
*This list is for informational purposes. Blue Pearl Institute does not treat all of the listed conditions, nor does it guarantee that it can treat or cure any of the listed conditions.
This list in its entirety in the full World Health Organization report on acupuncture can be accessed at: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/pdf/s4926e/s4926e.pdf
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