An Introduction To Acupuncture

Most of us perceive acupuncture as a method of treating ailments by inserting needles into specific pressure points. While this explanation is almost acceptable, there is more to it than what meets the eye.

Acupuncture has its roots deep in Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM. The ancient theory which lays the foundation for Acupuncture is based on the concept that energy flows through our body through pathways called Meridians. Each meridian is linked to an internal organ. When the flow of energy is hindered, it leads to health issues.

Acupuncture aims at restoring the flow of energy by inserting fine acupuncture needles into acupressure points just below the surface of the skin. Besides this method, the acupressure points can also be stimulated by:

  • Electro-acupuncture: stimulating the acupuncture needles with small electric currents.
  • Acupressure: using manual pressure along the acupressure points.
  • Cupping: relieving pain with the use of plastic cups.

The Treatment And Uses of Acupuncture

Acupuncture treatment usually requires two or more sessions. The practitioner can choose to go with the Chinese method or combine it with the western technique.

Prior to the commencement of the treatment, the practitioner will do a testing or palpation of the meridians. This includes checking of the pulse and pressing of the hands, feet, chest and abdomen area for pathological changes.

The acupuncture needles are then inserted in strategic pressure points that are relevant to the nature of the ailment or physical complaint.

Will the patient experience pain? Yes, but not the kind of pain that is unbearable. Acupuncture needles are so fine and administered under expert care, the pain can be dull or the patient can experience a tingling sensation.

Once the needle is in place, the dull pain is often replaced with a warm sensation along the meridians. The needles are left in place for a specific period of time. The practitioner can enhance the effect of the needle by rotating it or heating it with a moxastick.

Uses of Acupuncture:

Acupuncture is currently being used to treat a plethora of conditions.

  • Weight issues
  • Recuperation from the effects of a stroke
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Addictions
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Mental health issues
  • Arthritic conditions
  • Skin problems.

Acupuncture Needles: Some Interesting Facts

Mostly manufactured in Australia, acupuncture needles are made from stainless steel and have a diameter of 0.12mm to 0.35 mm thickness. Their length varies from 8mm to 7 cm.

The commonly used acupuncture needle is the metal filiform needle, although very rarely are gold and silver needles used.

Are acupuncture needles safe? Yes, they are. Acupuncture needles are pre-sterilized, disposable and packed into foil-backed blister packs with plastic guide tubes.

Specialized Acupuncture Needles

Although filiform needles are most commonly used, there are other types of specialized needles that are available for acupuncture.

The Plum Blossom Needle or Seven Star Needle

  • Consists of seven filiform needles attached together like a hammerhead to a long, flexible handle.
  • Some types come with a head that can be detached and sterilized.

The Three Edged Needle

  • The Three-Edged Needle is made of

            1. A thick needle
2. A round handle
3. A triangular body

  • It is extremely sharp and is used mainly to remove excess blood.

Press Needles

  • Press needles are very small- only about 1mm- 3mm in size.
  • They are used to prolong the stimulation of an acupressure point.
  • Press needles are usually used in the external ear.

Other accessories:

Ear seeds, press seeds and pellets are other devices that are only taped to the acupressure points. The patient is asked to press these devices at specific intervals to stimulate the acupressure points.

Know More About : An Overview Of Different Types Of Acupuncture Treatment

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