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The essentials of acupuncture.

Updated on October 27, 2014

Acupuncture Essentials


Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that can be traced back to at least 2500 years. Chinese history records the introduction of acupuncture in 1600-1100 BCE during the Shang dynasty. In fact, the tattoo marks on the Ice Man who died around 3300 BCE showed that some stimulatory treatment similar to acupuncture may have also developed independent of China, though the discovery of acupuncture is widely attributed to that nation.

Acupuncture gained popularity in the United States after President Richard Nixon visited China in 1972. Subsequent to that, there has been keen interest worldwide on the benefits of acupuncture and its application to Western medicine. However, the diagnosis and treatment approaches as practiced in American/Western medicine are restricted to that not only originating from China, but also incorporate traditions from Japan, Korea and other oriental countries.

What Is Acupuncture?

It is believed by Chinese medicine that the flow of energy in the body follows a predetermined pattern. Any flow disruption cause various illnesses that can however be corrected through flow restoration by energizing points in or on the skin by thin, solid, metallic needles that are either stimulated manually or electrically. This procedure is safe as long as single-use clean needles are used. It has virtually no side effects, and very minor ones if they happen at all. Acupuncture however is to be carried out by an acupuncturist licensed by the state to ensure expertise with the procedure as well as compliance with guidelines as laid down in the procedure.

Typically, these treatments range anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. The treatment may require the patient to visit the provider for several rounds of treatment, though at times treatment may be prolonged over several months wherever necessary. The procedure is relatively painless other than a slight pressure on the skin when the needle pierces the surface. After that, the acupuncturist will either stimulate the pin manually by rolling it towards the back and then the front, or use electrical stimulation. The penetration point is determined by the provider based on the ailment and consequent necessity for correction of energy flow in the system by placement of needles appropriately over the body.

Uses Of Acupuncture

Acupuncture has found usage as a mode to relieve pain. This process can cure the pain by itself or may be supplemented with other treatment procedures as well. It also cures vomiting and nausea associated with pregnancy and in cancer-stricken patients undergoing chemotherapy. There are other uses for acupuncture as well. For instance, it has been found useful in patients with osteoarthritis, asthma, headaches and other pains like tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome etc. It has also found wide use in rehabilitation after stroke and drug de-addiction. One of its recent important uses is for weight control where appropriately placed needles quell hunger through sending relevant signals to the brain.

Choosing Acupuncture As An Option

When choosing acupuncture as a treatment mode, consulting a physician or family and relatives who have undergone the procedure is always important to dispel any doubts.Selection of the acupuncturist also needs to be done carefully through discussions with past patients and knowing their experience with the provider. Determining the credentials of the acupuncturist is also important so as to know if the acupuncturist holds a license from the state or a certificate from the Acupuncture Commission. Once the proper acupuncturist is selected, a plan for treatment needs to be worked on in conjunction with the doctor who has referred the patient, the patient, and other persons associated with the system like insurance professionals. Prior to embarking on the treatment, everyone needs to be detailed on the frequency and duration of the treatment as well as the total cost for providing such. Once everyone is satisfied with the plan and aware of its consequences, the treatment can be embarked upon without hindrance. When selecting the provider, location of the clinic is also equally important for ease of attending the treatments over a long duration if required.


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    • Dip Mtra profile image

      Dip Mtra 3 years ago from World Citizen

      I walk and eat more green vegetables to remain healthy, yet have various ailments. Perhaps Yoga is the answer. They say arthritis, blood pressure, cholesterol-most lifestyle disorders can be cured through yoga. Thank you all for reading my very first article at HP.

    • tea lady 2 profile image

      Pat 3 years ago from Midwest, USA

      I use Acupuncture, T'ai Chi, QiGong and Tea to stay healthy!

    • Dip Mtra profile image

      Dip Mtra 3 years ago from World Citizen

      Thanks Clive.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 3 years ago from Jamaica

      nice hub

    • Dip Mtra profile image

      Dip Mtra 3 years ago from World Citizen

      Thanks DDE.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Interesting and informative.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Thank you for answering the question I had before I could even ask it: do you feel the needles at all? I'd love to try this for my migraines and MS.