Acupuncture was became widely known in the western hemisphere after a New York Times reporter James Reston wrote about it after visiting China in 1971. Acupuncture has been performed in China over 2000 years. Here in the United States, more and more acupuncture procedures are performed for people wanting other options in dealing with pain or specific health conditions.The foundation of acupuncture uses the premise that throughout the body, energy called “Qi” flows uninterrupted in certain pathways. These pathways are called Meridians. When the flow of energy is interrupted, the body is no longer in balance and health problems can arise. There are over 2000 acupuncture points that are used in different patterns.
Most practitioners use disposable acupuncture needles in order safeguard the patient and the practitioner. These disposable needles are shorter and smaller than the traditional acupuncture needles some people may think of. There is little to no pain while the needle is inserted. Some practitioners only use the needles themselves or they may add electrical stimulation in their practice.
Occasionally one session of acupuncture may be all that a person may need, but most people need a series of sessions, depending on how serious the condition is and for how long the person has had the condition. Acupuncture can be used as a stand-alone therapy or in conjunction with other medical treatments.
Western Scientists have tried to explain and study how acupuncture works. One theory is that acupuncture works on the nervous system by the production of pain-killing endorphins and immune system cells in the body. Another theory is that acupuncture may affect parts of the brain involved in sensation and involuntary body functions through the production of neurotransmitters and neurohormones.
Even though the practice of acupuncture is still new to the people of the western world, it has been in practice in China for 2000 years and continues to be a predominant method of treatment today. For some acupuncture has not helped, and for some it has been a “miracle”. But isn’t that the same for any time of medicine, whether it be Chinese or Modern Western Medicine?