Ancient Chinese medicine is one of the oldest, and what we today call "alternative" medical methodologies in the world. Way back before medical science ever existed, ancient medications such as that which was developed by the Chinese, was the only form of treatment against injury and disease.
Stone Needle Acupuncture
These treatments were practised long before the earliest civilisations were formed, and before the emergence of written language. The Chinese civilisation is one of the oldest, and when its written language was first used some 7000 years ago, it refers to the existence of "stone needle acupuncture" as being one of the treatments that was practised under the umbrella of ancient Chinese medicine. As the name implies, this practice used needles made from stone to treat disease and injury.
Stainless Steel now Replaces Stone
The acupuncture methodology that exists today is a direct descendant of stone needle acupuncture. However, instead of using needles fashioned out of stone, today's modern acupuncture uses needles which are typically often made from high tensile strength stainless steel wire.
The Theory behind Acupuncture
The Chinese hold the belief that the human body is charged with a life force that flows through channels which are known as meridians. They call this life "Qi", which is pronounced, chee. The Chinese believe that it is when Qi cannot flow freely through the body, that illness and disease take root. The practice of acupuncture is all about the insertion of needles to redirect the life force back to its proper path, so relieving and/or curing any illness, or the pain from any injury.
How Acupuncture is Applied
Acupuncture is carried out by piercing the skin with different sized acupuncture needles at specific points on the human body. These points are called nodes or nodal points. They are clearly defined on acupuncture charts, the earliest of which are still in existence today dating back to the Ming Dynasty in the 1340s, and shows the 14 channels or meridians with their appropriate nodal points.
Modern acupuncture needles vary in size from 0.12mm 0.3mm, and it is the position of the acupuncture (nodal) points themselves and where they are located on the body, that determines which size is most appropriate.
What Conditions is Acupuncture Used for?
Acupuncture is used by the Chinese (and the Japanese too) to treat any ailment or painful injury. However, whilst the modern medical community accepts and often recommends acupuncture as a course of treatment, it only does so for a limited number of conditions whereby it has been scientifically proven to work. These include lower back pain. Acupuncture is endorsed by the National Institute of health in the USA, the National Health Service in the UK, the World Health Organisation, and the National Centre for complementary, alternative medicine.
Is Acupuncture Painful?
Whilst acupuncture as a treatment may be considered to be slightly invasive, pain or discomfort when the acupuncture needles are being inserted is minimal or even non-existent. Everyone has slightly different pain/discomfort levels. The Japanese form of acupuncture uses even thinner needles than the Chinese, which many people say cause negligible discomfort. It should however be stressed that for most people Chinese, acupuncture results in little or no discomfort whatsoever.
Are there any Side Effects?
As with most alternative forms of medicine, acupuncture does not involve the use of any chemicals and is therefore free from any harmful side-effects. The fact that it is recommended by so many health authorities around the world indicates that it is a completely safe form of treatment.
Because the scientific community does not acknowledge the existence of a particular life force, such as Qi, science does not yet recognise acupuncture as a cure-all treatment. However, many people who undergo acupuncture would strongly disagree with this view. The jury is still out!
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