Traditional acupuncture is one of the fastest growing and most popular complementary therapies in the west. It is a healthcare system based on ancient principles that date back at least 2000 years. A growing body of evidence-based clinical research shows that traditional acupuncture can treat a wide range of common health problems s e.g. back pain, depression, anxiety, fertility problems, insomnia, IBS, chronic fatigue or generally feeling unwell or ‘off key’ perhaps without having a conclusive diagnosis.
From a western perspective traditional acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system and cause the release of neurochemical messenger molecules. The resulting biochemical changes influence the body’s homeostatic mechanisms, thus promoting physical and emotional well-being. Stimulation of certain acupuncture points has been shown to affect areas of the brain that are known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress (Hui 2010).
In China where Traditional acupuncture originated good health is modeled on the concepts of Qi or vital energy underlying the balanced functioning of the body. Pain and illness is viewed as an imbalance in the smooth flow of Qi in the body. The physical, emotional and mental aspects of a person are seen as interdependent and their symptoms viewed in relation to each other. The overall aim of acupuncture then, is to restore equilibrium to the body’s energy, helping patients feel well on every levels.
Ultra fine needles are inserted into specific points located and linked on channels along which Qi flows. This brings the Qi into better balance and activates the body’s own natural healing response. The points choosen for treatment may well be different for two patients with the same western diagnosis. This is because treatments are tailored to the individual, not isolated to their illness. In this way the whole person is treated. As well as an improvement in symptoms people often report a general increased sense of well being from treatment.
The World Health Organisation lists a wide variety of diseases or disorders for which acupuncture therapy has been tested in controlled clinical trials Download pdf
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