Acupuncture is an ancient method of healing and improving health that was imported
from China. The practice of Acupuncture involves inserting small needles into the
skin along energy channels (meridians) to reestablish the energy flow, restore balance
and accelerate healing.
Acupuncture become popular in the West in the 1970's during President Richard Nixon's
famous visit to China. The U.S. President received Acupuncture treatment during
his trip. Today, most states require Acupuncturists to be licensed.
History of Acupuncture
The origin of Acupuncture is from Asia where Acupuncture has been part of Chinese
Medicine for many centuries. Acupuncture needles and medical information scribed
on bones dating back to 1,000 B.C. during the Shang dynasty have been discovered
by archeologists. By the 4th century A.D., an advanced Chinese Medicine knowledge
was developed which incorporated the use of Chinese Herbs along with acupuncture.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture utilizes very small needles which are inserted into the skin at specific
locations to produce a range of health effects on the body. There are over 2,000
acupuncture points located in the human body that can be stimulated individually
or in combinations.
A trained Acupuncturist will assess the patient's medical history during the office
visit. The Acupuncture needles are left in place for about 40 minutes where they
are manipulated by the Acupuncturist. The Acupuncture points are then stimulated
to generate relief for the medical condition.
Acupuncture has been known to treat common conditions such as: allergies, depression,
headaches, hypertension, nausea, arthritis, and sprains. It also has been used effectively
to treat more complex medical conditions such as weight control, infertility, and
Acupuncture and Weight Loss
It was the Chinese who initially perfected Acupuncture. However, it was a French
doctor, Dr. Nogier who discovered in 1957 that acupuncture of the ear could help
in the treatment of obesity.
About 80% of the patients who undergo ear Acupuncture will have a reduction in appetite.
A patient feeling "full" more quickly during a meal will result in the reduction
of food intake. This reduction in appetite lasts about 5 to 7 days. After this,
another Acupuncture session is generally required.
However, Acupuncture alone cannot accomplish long term weight loss. It must be used
in conjunction with a proper regimen of diet and exercise.
Acupuncture and Fertility
A publication in the Fertility and Sterility Journal by the American Society for
Reproductive Medicine in 2002 brought credibility to the use of Acupuncture with
in vitro fertilization program to increase the pregnancy rates.
Acupuncture needles were inserted into the spleen and stomach areas of a subset of
the 160 in vitro fertilization test patients. This was performed before and after
embryos were transferred to the patients’ uteri. A second subset of the 160 in vitro
fertilization patients did not receive any Acupuncture treatments prior to the transferring
of embryos to their uteri.
Of the two groups, the patients which received Acupuncture had a 42% pregnancy rate
compared to the 26% pregnancy rate of the second group receiving no Acupuncture treatments.
It has be hypothesized that the Acupuncture treatment had a sedating effect on the
women making her uterus more relaxed and receptive to receiving embryos
Many women have used Acupuncture in the treatment of infertility. The Acupuncture
increases blood flow to the uterus making the uterine lining thicker. The Acupuncture
needles are only the size of a human hair. So Acupuncture needles do not typical
cause great pain with the exception of a small prick feeling.
Acupuncture Back Pain
Acupuncture for pain relief and more specifically back pain has been subjected to
numerous studies over the years. When an Acupuncture needle is inserted in the skin,
endorphins are released. A tiny inflammatory response is initiated resulting in
physiological changes. It is also believed that the small sting of the needles may
prohibit the passage of stronger pain signals.
The most effective use of Acupuncture for back pain is when it is used as part of
a comprehensive package of treatments in conjunction with other alternative medicine
such as Chinese herbs, exercise and lifestyle changes and traditional medicine. Patients
who received Acupuncture for back pain tend to vary in levels of success.
Some respond quickly after a few sessions with life long relief. Others will initially
respond positively to the Acupuncture treatments but they require maintenance treatments
along the way. A few patients may not respond at all. If a patient does not notice
any difference after the first 6 to 12 sessions, then it is unlikely that Acupuncture
will be effective.
Acupuncture and Import from China
Given the growing popularity of Acupuncture in the West, a new industry has been
created to provide Acupuncture supplies to the medical practices.
Things like needles, patients beds and other medical supplies are needed in an Acupuncture
For those who want to benefit from the imported Chinese art of Acupuncture, there
are various Acupuncture schools offering courses in North America.