Acupuncture – Did you Know the Precautions?
Acupuncture is an alternate medicine treatment technique that originated in ancient China. It involves the insertion of specialized needle into specific points in the skin (acupuncture sites). It was thought by the ancient users that this technique corrects the imbalances that occurred in the flow qi (life energy of life force) which usually flows in a distinct path in the body called meridians. They also believed that disease occurred when there is a disruption of flow of qi along its path. The qi flows in the human body via the meridians to reach vital tissues and organ in the body. Acupuncture is performed by using the acupuncture needles which are disposable or usable (sterilization needed) on acupoints found in the skin.
Different Types of Acupuncture
Different types of acupuncture exist today and there are used for specific ailments. There include:
- Chinese acupuncture: this is the most common practiced acupuncture worldwide and in the United States of America. It is carried out in combination with Chinese’s herbs. In Chinese acupuncture the five elements of life (fire, earth, water, metal and wood) are incorporated into the treatment protocol. Diagnosis is made by extensively questioning followed by treatment.
- Japanese acupuncture: in Japanese acupuncture, the aim is to achieve treatment by stimulating very few sites in the body. This involves the use of fewer acupuncture needles, fewer stimulation and the needles used are also shorter compared to the classical Chinese needles
- Korean hand acupuncture: the hand as seen by the Koreans is the most vital organ in disease occurrence. The flow of qi in the hand moves in a distinct fashion and when this is distorted, disease occurs. In Korean hand acupuncture needles are inserted into different parts of the hand.
- Auricular acupuncture: in this type of acupuncture, fine needles, ear seeds or tracks are inserted/ placed in the ears to control the flow of qi in the meridians. it is frequently used in combination with other acupuncture techniques
- Acupuncture without needles: in this type, blunt needles are used instead of the classical sharp needles inserted into the skin. The needles are used to touch the skin without penetration. It is a power technique but it requires additional training and skill
- Moxibustion: this is another form of acupuncture without needles. It involves the application of heat from burning herbs (mugwart) on the different acupuncture sites. The heat warms up the meridians which are the pathway for the flow of qi.
History or Origin of Acupuncture
The history of acupuncture dates back to ancient China. Not until the 2nd century, that acupunctures needles were change to metal. It was believe by Chinese physician that soldiers wounded in battle showed evidence of treatment from other chronic disease that they were suffering from. The earliest documentation on acupuncture is found in the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon dated about 200BCE. From china, the practice of acupuncture spread to different parts of the world. However, it is believed that Korean was the second country with evidence of acupuncture practice. Till date in Korea, it is believed that acupuncture was started by Dangun (an emperor).
Uses of Acupuncture
Acupuncture has been claimed to be effective in the treatment of major diseases and disorders. Although clinical evidence and researches are not conclusive, it has been used extensively as an alternate form of medical treatment. It is effective in the treatment of low back pain, migraine headaches, fertility issues in men and women because of its effects in hormone production, osteoarthritis, treatment of nausea and vomiting after surgery, allergies, depression, cessation of cigarette smoking and other substance abuse, stroke and rheumatologic conditions.
Acupuncture is also Used for
It is also effective in the treatment of cancer pain attention deficit hyperactive disorder, autism, bell palsy, erectile dysfunction, restless leg syndrome, insomnia and it irritable bowel disease.
Precautions or Warnings to Getting this Therapy
Acupuncture is relatively a safe procedure. However, care should be taken during treatment sessions and all acupuncturist should be skilled in prevent side effects and treatment of such unwanted effects when there occur. Care should be taken if the patient is hungry, has recently eaten or have consumed alcohol.
It is also harmful to insert needles in the abdomen of pregnant women as this can affect the flow of qi to the baby in the womb or can stimulate preterm labour. Needles should be placed on damaged, broken or injured skin areas. Special attention should be given to the angle and depth of needle insertion especially in areas with thin skin. If needles are inserted wrongly, internal organs can be damaged.
Have you ever tried acupuncture or do you know anyone who has tried it? Could you please share your experience or any advice to us?