Table of Contents
What is the theory behind acupuncture and moxibustion?
Is acupuncture painful?
Are the needles safe to use?
How does Chinese herbal medicine work?
What are the side-effects of Chinese medicine?
How many treatments are needed?
What kinds of disorders benefit from Chinese medicine treatments?
The use of acupuncture in
managing acute and chronic pain and it's use in
place of, or in conjunction
with, chemical anesthetics in surgery is becoming commonly known in the United
States. But the ancient
Chinese medical practices of acupuncture and moxibustion
have been used for over 4,000 years, not only
for pain management, but also in the prevention and treatment of a broad range
of diseases and for
maintenance of general health and enhancement of stamina.
Chinese medicine delineates 14 meridians in the
human body, called the conceptual channels, and
numerous associated collateral branches. These meridians and their branches
constitute a network that
interconnects all the tissues and organs of the body. Twelve of the 14 meridians
are associated with 12
specific organs, and the meridians can be classified as yin or yang in nature.
A key idea in Chinese medicine is that of
qi (pronounced chi). This invisible force manifests
in the human
body as an energy flow which circulates to all parts of the body through the
meridians and supports the
body's vital activities. According to the theory of
Chinese medicine, the equilibrium of bodily functions is
maintained through a balance of yin and yang, two life forces with opposing
natures (yang being positive
and active, yin being passive and receptive). Any imbalance between these two
forces in the human body
causes an obstruction of qi flow in the meridians
and, whenever the qi flow is interrupted, a pain or
illness results. The chief aim of Chinese medicine is to restore the balance
between yin and yang in the
body, thus restoring the smooth flow of qi in the
There are 361 acupuncture points distributed
along the 14 meridians and all these points can be used to
treat disorders of the related organs. Disorders generated from or associated
with a specific meridian
have characteristic manifestations. After diagnosing an illness and determining
the meridians involved,
the doctor selects appropriate acupuncture points to form an acupuncture
prescription. Determining the
correct combination of points is very important, and manipulation of the needles
to achieve the desired
effects requires a studied skill.
No. The patient usually feels
a sensation similar to a mosquito bite when the very fine needle (about as
thick as a human hair) is inserted into the skin at rapid speed. Some complex
feelings such as soreness,
distention or numbness will be generated at the acupuncture point when the
needle is manipulated. This
indicates that the patient is responding to the treatment.
Yes. Acupuncture needles are
sterile and disposable.
Of the several thousand
Chinese herbs that are classified and described in detail in the Chinese medical
literature, about 600 are commonly used clinically. Derived mainly from plants
and minerals, Chinese
medicinal herbs are classified by their natures (cold, cool, warm and hot) and
flavors (pungent, sweet,
sour, bitter and salty). Different "natures" and "flavors" correspond to
different physical and chemical
features of the herbs. For example, most of the sour herbs contain organic acids
and have an astringent
effect, while most of the herbs with a cold nature can be used to treat febrile
disease (bacterial and viral
infections). Different herbs "have a preference for"
different meridians. Huang-Qing, Ma-Huang and
Sha-Shen, for example, "prefer" to enter the lung
meridian and are often used to treat respiratory
problems such as asthma and cough. In Chinese medicine, unlike in Western
medicine, herbs are rarely
used individually. They are almost always combined in a formula in order to
achieve synergistic effects as
well as to cancel out any adverse effects of other herbs in the combination. One
formula or prescription
is usually composed of about 10 different herbs.
are the side-effects of Chinese medicine?
Acupuncture, herbal formulas and other Chinese
medicine techniques are natural therapies with minimal
or no side effects. Occasionally, an herbal formula is found to disturb the
gastrointestinal tract of initial
users but this disturbance can be avoided by taking the herbs after a meal.
Patients can generally receive
Chinese medicine treatments for a lifetime without worrying about side effects.
Nor is there any
tolerance or addiction to Chinese medicine.
For many acute problems, two
or three treatments will suffice. For chronic diseases, treatment is
generally longer, usually weeks or months. Frequency
of treatment also varies, depending on the nature
and length of the illness, from two treatments per week to one treatment per
month. The patient's
general health, and individual differences among patients, can also affect the
length and frequency of
treatment. The effects of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are usually
Chinese medicine aims at getting beyond the symptoms to the root-cause of an
illness and restoring the
balance of the body as well as mobilizing the body's
own potential to overcome illness.
head, neck, shoulder, back, limbs,
trunk or limbs), soft tissue injuries, arthritis, Gout, mono- or polyneuritis
and neuropathy, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome
cholesterol control, hypertension,
cold, asthma, chronic cough,
gastritis, peptic ulcers, chronic
diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, hepatitis,
hepatocirrhosis (early stages)
Endocrine and Gynecological: certain thyroid
disorders, diabetes, weight reduction, menstrual disorders, PMS, menopausal
symptoms, endometriosis, infertility
allergic reactions, hives, eczema,
urinary tract infection, urolithiasis, nephritis
alcohol, smoking, drugs
insomnia, dizziness, depression/
anxiety, memory loss, chronic fatigue, impotence and premature ejaculation,
excessive sweating/night sweating, eating disorders
synergistic treatments for
currently receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy
Certain Immunological Disorders
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