Acupuncture therapy is a very popular alternative to western medicine. Many studies done on acupuncture have found that it's an effective therapy for osteoarthritis, chemotherapy-induced nausea, asthma, back pain, painful menstrual cycles, bladder instability, and migraine headaches. There is also some information that acupuncture therapy can help with chronic pain and drug addictions.
If you are considering trying acupuncture therapy or are simply curious about it, following is some information on how to understand acupuncture therapy.
- Acupuncture therapy takes the whole body, including the mind and spirit into account. This is defined as holistic medicine. Holistic medicine believes that a headache, for example, is a symptom of a larger problem.
- Acupuncture therapy believes that health issues like backaches or insomnia are caused by the qi (chi or ki) being out of synch. Qi is the movement of life energy in nature and the body. Acupressure practitioners believe that when the qi is imbalanced, illness occurs. Acupuncture practitioners say that using acupuncture brings your body's energy into greater harmony, allowing your body to take over the healing process.
- Even if you're feeling healthy, acupuncture therapy may be for you; it is designed not only as a cure but as a preventative medicine too.
- Acupuncture therapy fixes the flow of the qi by stimulating acupressure points with pressure, heat (moxibustion), needles and, most recently, electromagnetic energy. Studies have found that stimulating acupressure points actually triggers the release of chemicals and hormones such as endorphins.
- The human body has hundreds of acupressure points ("tsubo" in Japan), most of which are not used in acupuncture therapy. These points are associated with meridians. Meridians are 'channels' that the qi runs through. When the meridians are disrupted, the qi's flow is halted or slowed and illness occurs. Stimulating the acupressure points repairs any damage in the meridians.
- Acupuncture practitioners find the acupressure points by knowing about where they are anatomically. There are many charts in acupuncture books to show practitioners where the points are. The exact location of the point on a specific patient is characterized by a small depression, subtle changes in skin temperature and changes in the 'stickiness' of the skin. If an acupressure point is pressed, the patient usually says the area feels different than other spots on her body. Acupressure points (when pushed) may feel tingly or tender, or the patient may experience a general release of energy.
- Acupuncture practitioners claim that acupuncture is effective at treating many different ailments including arthritis, asthma, back pain, headaches, high blood pressure, gynecological and fertility problems, rheumatism, sciatica, ulcers, emotional conditions and general feelings of unhealthiness.
- Books to Read: For more information about acupuncture, read Japanese Classical Acupuncture: Introduction to Meridian Therapy by Shudo Denmei, The Art of Acupuncture Techniques by Robert Johns and Finding Effective Acupuncture Points by Denmei Shudo, Shudo Denmei and Stephen Brown. These books explain how acupuncture therapy works, gives information about the acupressure points, and explains how acupuncture can help improve the quality of your life.