Acupuncture is one of the main forms of treatment in traditional Chinese medicine. It involves the use of thin needles that are inserted in the body at very specific points. This process is believed to adjust and alter the body's energy flow into healthier patterns, and is used to treat a wide variety of illnesses and health conditions.
Basic ideas of chinese medicine
Chinese medicine views the body as a small part of the universe, and subject to universal laws and principles of harmony and balance. Chinese medicine does not draw a sharp line, as Western medicine does, between mind and body. The Chinese system believes that emotions and mental states are every bit as influential on disease as purely physical mechanisms, and considers factors like work, environment, lifestyle and relationships as fundamental to the overall picture of a patient's health. Chinese medicine also uses very different symbols and ideas to discuss the body and health.To understand the ideas behind acupuncture, it is worthwhile to introduce some basic terms. While Western medicine typically describes health in terms of measurable physical processes made up of chemical reactions, the Chinese use ideas like yin and yang, chi, the organ system, and the five elements to describe health and the body.
Acupuncture needles are always sterilized and acupuncture is a very safe procedure. The depth of insertion of needles varies, depending on what is being treated. The needles generally do not cause pain. Patients sometimes report pinching sensations and often pleasant sensations, as the body experiences healing. Depending on the problem, the acupuncturist might spin or move the needles, or even pass a slight electrical current through some of them.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends acupuncture as an effective treatment for over forty medical problems, including respiratory conditions, gastrointestinal disorders, nervous conditions and musculoskeletal pain among others. It is an effective and low-cost treatment for headaches and chronic pain, associated with problems like back injuries and arthritis.