Acupuncture is a form of healing that dates back to Ancient China over 5,000 years ago!! According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture is just one form of a system of healing known as meridian therapy.
A meridian is a channel where energy flows, located just under the skin. There are 12 major meridians located on both sides of the body. These include the stomach meridian, the heart meridian and the small intestine meridian to name a few. For example the lung meridian starts just under the collarbone, and flows down the front of the arm, to the thumb. There are several numbered points along each meridian. These are the points that are treated using meridian therapy.
According to Traditional Chinese medical beliefs, the human body is innately capable of maintaining homeostasis, or a relatively stable internal environment. An interference in this homeostasis results in an imbalance of energy in the meridians, and disease may then occur. This interference can result from external forces such as.....cold, heat, wind or germs...... or from internal forces such as ..... stress or emotional upset.
The goal of meridian therapy is to restore or balance the proper flow of energy within the meridians, thus restoring homeostasis in the body.
As I noted above, acupuncture is but one form of meridian therapy. Meridian therapy can also be performed using many other forms of stimulation to the meridian points. These include electric stimulation, ice, heat, thumb or finger pressure, or even a tapping instrument.
Of course acupuncture is the form of meridian therapy that uses needles to stimulate the meridian points. The term "acupuncture" was actually coined by 17th century Jesuit missionaries who were traveling through China. They observed Chinese doctors sticking needles into patients to produce healing effects. Upon returning to France, they used the word "acupuncture" taken from the Latin words "acus" meaning needle and "pungo" meaning to puncture.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What can acupuncture be used for?
There are actually 4 uses of acupuncture:
prevention of disease
treatment of sickness or disease
Q: So acupuncture can actually be used to prevent disease?
Yes, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the physicians major role was prevention of disease. Conversely, we know that with Western medicine as it is today in the United States, most time is spent treating sick people and very little effort is made to actually prevent poor health.
The fee system used in ancient China was such that the doctor continued to get paid only as long as the patient remained well. In fact, if the patient became sick, payment stopped and the doctor would have to treat them for free. We all know that Western medical doctors couldn't survive on such a fee system, but that example should demonstrate how important the use of acupuncture was for prevention, in ancient China.
Q: Do you have many patients that get acupuncture to prevent disease?
Unfortunately the answer to that question is "No". However, I do have a handful of patients that come for an acupuncture treatment every month or so, on a maintenance basis. They usually can tell that they feel healthier and function better with regular, periodic acupuncture treatments, as opposed to waiting until they have an illness to get an acupuncture treatment.
As great as acupuncture is for prevention, I have never had a potential patient who came in and shouted "Dr. Austin, I feel wonderful, but I would like to know if my meridians are balanced!". I attribute that to the fact that Western medicine spends most of its time masking symptoms instead of finding causes or preventing diseases. As well as the fact that the drug companies have done such a great job of brainwashing the American public into thinking that there is a pill for every ill with their slick multi-million dollar advertising campaigns.
Q: How is acupuncture used for anesthesia?
Acupuncture for the use of anesthesia is a relatively new phenomena. This is being used to take the place of anesthetic drugs by some patients during surgical or dental procedures.
Q: Do you perform acupuncture for the purpose of anesthesia?
No. Acupuncture for anesthesia is usually performed in a hospital setting. In Chinese hospitals, the patient would have the
needles put in shortly before the surgery, the surgery would then be performed (without the need for any anesthetic drugs), and then the needles removed.
The 2 main reasons that I use acupuncture at Austin Family Chiropractic are for pain control, and for the treatment of sickness or disease. As mentioned above, I also treat a small number of my acupuncture patients to keep them healthy (i.e., prevent disease).
Q: What kind of conditions have you treated successfully with acupuncture?
Some of the conditions that I have successfully used acupuncture on for pain control are:
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
low back pain
pain associated with fractured ribs
Some of the different sicknesses and diseases that I have treated with very good results using acupuncture are:
the common cold
fatigue / lack of energy
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
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