Originating in China more than 2,000 years ago, Acupuncture is one of the oldest and most commonly used medical procedures in the world. It became broadly known in the United States in 1971 when James Reston, a reporter for the New York Times, provided an introduction to acupuncture with his writing about how doctors in China were able to lower his post-surgery abdominal pain with acupuncture. Since then, traditional Chinese medicine has been increasingly recognized in the western hemisphere as a comprehensive holistic health care system.
Traditional Chinese medicine theorizes that more than 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body connect with 12 main and 8 secondary pathways, called meridians. These meridians conduct energy, or Qi, between the surface of the body and internal organs. Qi regulates spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical balance. Qi is influenced by the opposing forces of Yin and Yang. When Yin and Yang are balanced, they work together with the natural flow of Qi to help the body achieve and maintain health.
Acupuncture balances the Yin and Yang, keeps the normal flow of energy unblocked, and restores health to the body and mind. Traditional Chinese medicine practices, including acupuncture, herbs, diet, massage, and meditative physical exercises, are all natural, noninvasive methods intended to restore balance and harmony by improving the flow of Qi.
Research shows that acupuncture is beneficial in treating a variety of health conditions. According to a National Institute of Health consensus panel of scientists, researchers, and practitioners who convened in November 1997, clinical studies have shown that acupuncture is an effective treatment for nausea caused by surgical anesthesia and cancer, as well as for dental pain experienced after surgery. The panel also found that acupuncture has beneficial effects in the treatment of addictions, headaches, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, lower back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma, as well as in stroke rehabilitation.
Acupuncture is being increasingly recommended by western medicine doctors to complement conventional therapies. Traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture are safe, natural, and effective therapies that can help address a wide variety of common ailments and sustain wellness.
- National Institute of Health, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), NCCAM Clearinghouse: NCCAM Acupuncture Information
- Beinfield, H. and Korngold, E.L. Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine. New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 1991
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