Acupuncture is a Western term for what the Chinese call “needling therapy”. Originally acupuncture began with the use of fine arrowheads or stone slivers called “bian” for bloodletting purposes. Acupuncture involving the insertion of fine metal needles was impossible until the development of metal needles, around 800 BCE. This makes acupuncture as we know it today roughly a 3000 year old practice. In fact very little has changed since its inception.
Extremely fine acupuncture needles are inserted into acupuncture points in various parts of the body. These acupuncture points are now understood to be neurovascular junctures or nodes. By stimulating tissue associated with various nodal sites, the acupuncturist is able to regulate a host of functional activities of the body.
Acupuncture adds nothing to the body, as its effects stem from its ability to restore functional balance and blood flow. Acupuncture promotes the circulation blood to various organs or tissues of the body. Blood has a tremendous potential to heal because it transports oxygen (qi), nutrients (ying), immune substances (wei), anti-inflammatory substances, and pain killing substances called endorphins and enkephalins. All of this together creates an extremely powerful tool to heal a wide host of health concerns.
Acupuncture needles, or filiform needles are very thin stainless steel needles which come pre-sterilized for one time use only. All needles are disposed of in a sharps container after use. Acupuncture needles are so fine that they can actually fit inside a needle used to draw blood.
According the World Health Organization the following conditions can be effectively treated with acupuncture. This list is not exhaustive, but certainly allows an individual seeking acupuncture treatment to see that a large variety of diseases and ailments are treated effectively with acupuncture.
- low back pain
- neck pain
- tennis elbow
- knee pain
- periarthritis of the shoulder
- facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
- dental pain
- tempromandibular (TMJ) dysfunction
- rheumatoid arthritis
- induction of labor
- correction of malposition of fetus (breech presentation)
- morning sickness
- nausea and vomiting
- postoperative pain
- essential hypertension
- primary hypotension
- renal colic
- dverse reactions to radiation or chemotherapy
- allergic rhinitis, including hay fever
- biliary colic
- depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
- acute bacillary dysentery
- primary dysmenorrhea
- acute epigastralgia
- peptic ulcer
- acute and chronic gastritis