Just a Little Prick: The Art of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is the Chinese healing art where needles are inserted into certain points on the body in order to re-balance the flow of Qi (pronounced chi) or energy throughout the body.

Just a Little Prick: The Art of Acupuncture

Culture Facts

Where: Ancient Chinese art, practiced the world over
What’s it about: Using needles to stimulate flow of energy, balancing Yin and Yang and supressing pain/enhancing well being
Theory: Connecting the body’s meridians by supressing pain and releasing happy endorphins

Do your knees, back or neck hurt? Do you suffer from nausea and vomiting after a night out on the town? Do you have horrible headaches? As an alternative to popping pills and lying in bed feeling sorry for yourself, you can try the 2000-year-old Chinese practice of Acupuncture to cure these most common ailments.

 

What They Do

Acupuncture is the Chinese healing art where needles are inserted into certain points on the body in order to re-balance the flow of Qi (pronounced chi) or energy throughout the body. Traditional Chinese medicine holds that there are 2000 acupuncture points on the body connected by 20 meridians or lines. Each line acts as a conductor of Qi between the surface of the skin and the internal organs, where each needle insertion has a different affect on the energy that passes through it.

Once the needles are situated in their proper points, they can be stimulated by electricity or moxa (burning herbs) to add increased sensation. Unlike hypodermic needles, the ones used for acupuncture are hair thin and are not designed to break the skin or to be inserted at such a deep level. But if you suffer from aicmophobia, the fear of needles, acupuncture may not be for you!

Ancient Philosophy

Acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese philosophical and religious ideas. One of the most important concepts of all Chinese medicine is natural balance, which is represented in the symbol of Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang signify a continual flow of anything and are inseparable. A harmonious relationship between the two means healthy living and a disturbance in this continual flow will lead to disease.

How it Works

There is not one accepted theory on how acupuncture actually works in curing the ailments that bother you. One theory states that the needles actually block the pain signals on their way to the spinal cord while another says that they stimulate the body to produce endorphins, a common response to the initial pain, which in turn alleviates all pain in any part of the body, a theory like “If your head hurts, pinch your arm and your head wont hurt anymore”.

In the absence of real scientific proof, there are many who hold acupuncture as a new, radical or even “quack” medicine, especially in the West, and place it as the alternative choice to more traditional forms of medicine. However, acupuncture has become increasingly popular as a form of alternative cancer therapy as well as curbing the side effects of cocaine withdrawal. Even with its rise and fall over the years, acupuncture is increasing in popularity and many people swear by its life improving qualities.

More Information

Multiple Acupuncture Resources
Acupuncture as well as other Chinese medicinal techniques

Modern Day Acupuncture 
Acupuncture details, acupuncturist locator, question and answers.

By Amy Jurries

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