What Is Acupuncture and How Does It Operate?

One thing you have probably heard of is the traditional healing power of acupuncture. However, you may not be completely familiar with this ancient therapy and how it works. To help you better understand acupuncture and how it operates, here is an explanation.

Acupuncture is a form of therapy that has been used in China for thousands of years by practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine. However, it wasn’t popularized in the United States until the 1970’s after members of President Nixon’s delegation to China witnessed the therapy being used during their trip.

In the simplest terms, acupuncture is performed when very fine needles as thin as a human hair are inserted into specific locations across the human body. To understand why this is done, you need to understand certain traditional Chinese beliefs about the human body.

In ancient times, the Chinese concept of chi was developed. Chi is a spiritual energy akin to a kind of life force that is supposed to exist in the body of every living person. For a person to remain healthy, this chi must be balanced. For this balance to be maintained, the male and female energies in a person’s body must also be balanced. These male and female energies are known as the yin and yang.

This chi life force flows along what are referred to as meridians in the human body. When a person’s chi is in balance, it can flow smoothly through all these meridians to different parts of the body. However, sometimes this flow of chi along these meridians can become obstructed. When this obstruction occurs, a person’s chi is thrown out of balance. This can cause a person to become unhealthy.

A practitioner of Chinese medicine may prescribe a number of different concoctions or therapies to address this imbalance caused by this obstruction of chi. One of the things likely to be prescribed is an acupuncture session.

During the session, the patient will be asked to lie down flat on a table. Depending on the perceived nature of the obstruction, the patient may be asked to undress so the needles can be inserted into specific areas covered by clothes. Other times, the therapy can be performed on a person who remains fully clothed.

Once the patient is ready, the practitioner will insert the very thin acupuncture needles into the patient’s body. These needles will be inserted along the meridian lines the practitioner perceives as the source of the obstruction. The practitioner may also insert these needles into the skin at anywhere between a fifteen to a ninety degree angle depending on his or her judgment of the best application for that specific case.

Once the needles have been inserted into the skin at different points along the meridians, the practitioner may do a number of different things with the needles to enhance the therapy. For example, he or she may twist the needles slightly in an attempt to get the chi flowing again. The practitioner may also heat or cool the needles to produce the desired effect. In certain cases, the needles may even be connected to a slight electric current.

Often, a patient will feel very relaxed or energized after the completion of an acupuncture treatment. For certain people, the problem may be solved with one acupuncture session. For others, it may take several sessions to eliminate the problem.

Since its introduction in the United States, acupuncture has become recognized as a legitimate therapy that can be used to address a number of different health issues. It is sometimes prescribed as a treatment for conditions such as migraine headaches, arthritis, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, cramps, fibromyalgia, and pain in general.

Acupuncture has even been recognized by the World Health Organization for its use in addressing certain kinds of behavioral problems and mental anxieties. For example, acupuncture is often prescribed to alcoholics, drug abusers, and others with substance dependency problems. Acupuncture has also become famous for its ability to alleviate the symptoms of people suffering from allergies.

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