Written by Julie Taylor
I don’t really understand quite why and how it helps, but it does… My fatigue improved; my balance improved; my headaches eased a little; I felt generally more ‘well’.
I am a complete coward when it comes to needles, but this didn’t hurt at all. At least inserting the needle is painless – but sometimes when the acupuncturist twists the needle there can be a burning sensation. However, there’s only a burning sensation if there is a ‘blocked’ or problem area… So, no pain, no gain?
It’s also a really good chance to completely focus on your problem and the physical body. I believe the mind is more powerful than we realize and this is a perfect way to experience a few minutes of visualization –or focus – on your body (imagining the body’s defense army kicking some invader/toxic butt!)
The word acupuncture (from the Latin acus – needle and pungere – prick) is inserting and manipulating fine hair-like needles into specific points on the body.
According to acupuncture theory, these points lie on meridians along which qi, a kind of energy, is said to flow. Acupuncture is thought to have originated in China and is most commonly associated with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Different types of acupuncture (Classical Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan, and Korean acupuncture) are practiced and taught throughout the world.
While acupuncture has been a subject of active scientific research since the late 20th century, its effects are not well-understood, and it remains controversial among researchers and clinicians. The body of evidence remains inconclusive but is active and growing. Clinical evidence seems to imply that acupuncture is effective for some but not all conditions.
The World Health Organization (WHO), the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Medical Association (AMA), other international bodies and various government reports have all studied and commented on acupuncture. There is general agreement that acupuncture is safe when administered by well-trained practitioners using sterile needles, and they all say that further research is worthwhile.
In China, the practice of acupuncture can be traced as far back as the stone age, using Bian shi, or sharpened stones. Stone acupuncture needles dating back to 3000 B.C. have been found by archeologists in Inner Mongolia. According to legend acupuncture started in China when some soldiers who were wounded by arrows in battle experienced a relief of pain in other parts of the body, and consequently people started experimenting with arrows (and later needles) as therapy.
Acupuncture spread from China to Japan, Korea, Vietnam and elsewhere in East Asia. Portuguese missionaries in the 16th century were among the first to bring reports of acupuncture to the West.
In the 1970s, acupuncture became vogue in America after American visitors to China brought back firsthand reports of patients undergoing major surgery using acupuncture as their sole form of anesthesia. Since then, tens of thousands of treatments are now performed in this country each year for many types of conditions such as back pain, headaches, infertility, stress, and many other illnesses.
In acupuncture, health is a balance of yin and yang within the body. Particularly important in acupuncture is the free flow of Qi. Qu is yang – ‘essence’ and blood is yang… Acupuncture treatment regulates the flow of Qi and Blood, promoting free flow where there is stagnation.
There are also therapies that don’t pierce the skin – acupoint therapy and acupressure therapy.
There is also dry needling, electroacupuncture and medical acupuncture as well as a whole host of other alternative therapies.
When your body has experienced a severe trauma and you are trying to build back as much health as possible, it may be worth looking at alternatives and trying to find something that will work for you.
For me, a little of many different kinds of therapies are what enabled me to regain as much function and health as I have. I often wonder, too, if I had more time and money just how complete a recovery I could make?