¤ A Chinese Art of Healing
One of the oldest forms of alternative medicine, this ancient Chinese art is still viewed with trepidation by the lay person
The earliest success in this therapy is recorded by a historian of the Han Dyansty (206 BC -220 AD ) where a doctor brought a patient out of coma by applying acupuncture needles. The doctor was Pein Chueh, who later summed up his forerunners’ medical experience and set forth diagnostic methods. The story started with stone needles and later nine metal needles (four of gold and five of silver) were discovered from graves dating back to the second century BC.
¤ The Magic of Needles
Some types of needles have fallen into disuse. Those most commonly used today are an improved form of the ancient filiform needle, while the three-edged needle used in venous pricking is practically the same as its ancient counterpart.
Therapists believe that when the body is unwell the flow of the vital energy of the body or the Qi (pronounced Chee), as it is known, that normally flows through 14 pathways called meredians, gets blocked for some reason. Inserting needles into points along the meredian path or twirling them or charging them with electrical impulse unblocks the chi and restores the health.
Many doctors use acupuncture to treat specific conditions only - such as pain (largely rheumatism and arthritis) and also addiction. Some acupuncturists apply their techniques to virtually any conditions presented to them by a sick or troubled patient. Because of a holistic approach, acupuncturists are trained to look for the onset of disease before the patient is even aware of anything being wrong.
¤ The Theory of Channels and Collaterals
The theory of Channels and Collaterals in Chinese medicine maintains that all points ( in acupuncture a point means a specific spot on the body where needling is done to evoke certain reactions) are capable of both reflecting functional changes of the viscera on the body surface and passing sensations from the body surface to the viscera.
According to Chinese traditional medical books there were 12 channels, 15 collaterals and 8 extraordinary channels interwoven into a ‘ system of channels and collaterals’ linking the viscera and the body surface, the head and limbs into one integrated whole.
The treatments involve a dozen or fewer disposable needles. While occasionally uncomfortable, the insertions are almost never painful.
The needles used are so tiny, most patients only feel a slight impression. Some practitioners deliver a low voltage electrical impulse through the needles to increase pain relief; at higher frequencies, it is a means of anesthesia. It often takes 6 to 8 sessions for symptoms to resolve, though some difficult problems may require up to a year of treatment.
¤ Point Injection Therapy
Another method, point injection therapy, a combination of Chinese and Western practice, was developed on the basis of acupuncture. A disease is treated or prevented by the combined effect of needling and drugs. Distilled water or drugs in small doses are injected into the points or painful spots. Advantages of this therapy are its versatility, economy in the use of drugs, short course of treatment and effectiveness.
The World Health Organisation has cited 104 different conditions that acupuncture may help, including the common cold, sinusitis, gastrointestinal disorders, sciatica and tennis elbow.
¤ Use Acupuncture Anaesthesia
Many hospitals in China now use acupuncture anaesthesia extensively and for patients of all ages from infants to octogenarians, including patients in critical condition. It has proved successful in more than a hundred types of major and minor operations from simple to highly complicated diseases such as cardiac surgery under extracorporeal circulation.
Men in their mid-thirties have an increased risk in areas in which acupuncture is very helpful. This is an age when men begin to experience (high) blood pressure, prostrate inflammation, and sore backs, knees and elbows.
¤ Moxibustion Associated With Acupuncture
The therapeutic effect of moxibustion is produced by the heat of slowly burning moxa wool sticks (moxa wool is the shredded dried leaves of Chinese wormwood) held near the diseased area or acupuncture point, or moxa cones placed directly on or above the area. Though acupuncture and moxibustion are two different methods, both are applied to points selected on the basis of the Chinese theory of Channels and Collaterals.
¤ Application of Moxibustion
The Chinese Canon of Medicine states that moxibustion may be applied when acupuncture proves ineffective, giving the rationale for the long-term juxtaposition of the two.
The aroma given off by burning moxa has been determined by modern science to be due to the volatile oil content in its leaves, which is effective against certain disease-producing bacteria.
In the beginning direct moxibustion was applied, which was administered by placing a moxa cone directly over the point on the skin. The moxa cone is generally about the size of a half date stone and the smallest being the size of a grain. Currently, the stick is made by rolling the moxawool firmly in soft paper and shaping it like a large - size cigarette. On application, the ignited stick is held over the acupuncture point, and the duration and intensity of the heat is controlled to produce the desired effect at the point. Does all of this work? Try it and find out!
Monday, August 20, 2007
¤ A Chinese Art of Healing