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Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine: What is the Relation?

  • is the oldest medical treatment on record
  • Acupuncture is based on the Chinese philosophy of balanced yin and yang
  • The most effective uses of acupuncture are for pain relief and post discomfort

If you’ve done any research on alternative medicine, you’ve probably come upon the term acupuncture. This is one of the most popular alternative health treatments. It has been used for a wide range of problems, including pain management. Some interested people may not realize that there is a connection between acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

History of Acupuncture

Although the term “acupuncture” was created by a Dutch physician who saw the treatment being performed during a visit to Nagasaki early in the 17th century, the treatment method actually began in China. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have had a very long relationship. The specific date of the treatment’s origins is unclear. Some claim acupuncture has been practiced for 2,000 years while others say 4,000 years. Either way, Chinese medicine acupuncture would be considered the oldest medical treatment continually practiced on earth.

The practice of acupuncture is rooted in Chinese philosophy that dates back almost 8,000 years. This philosophy revolved around the idea that harmony need to be found between opposing forces in the world, such as the living and the dead or good and evil. The methods for performing acupuncture were first put into a book called the Nei Ching Su Wen in China approximately 2,000 years ago. The problem is that the authorship of the text has never been clearly established so dating the text accurately has proven to be difficult.

What is Acupuncture?

To understand acupuncture, you need to understand one of the main ideas in Chinese medicine: the yin and the yang. These are those opposing forces which are at the center of the philosophy behind acupuncture. Good health requires that these forces be balanced. When the body has too much of either force, the vital energy known as qi is blocked. To unblock these areas, the small needles are inserted at a key point known as an acupuncture point. According to practitioners, more than 2,000 of these points are present on the human body.

Acupuncture in the West

The practice of acupuncture originated in China but did spread throughout most of Asia, including Korea and Japan. However, the practice did not reach the United States until 1971. During that year, a reporter for the New York Times had surgery which left him in a lot of pain. While he was in China, he visited acupuncture practitioners who used their needles to give him relief. After he wrote about these acupuncture practices, interest in this ancient Chinese treatment skyrocketed in the West. As of 2002, more than 8 million Americans have used acupuncture at some point in their lives. About 2 million people go to a practitioner every year. The practice is very safe if you choose a reputable practitioner who follows standard safety procedures, such as using sterilized needles.

Effectiveness of Acupuncture

As a vital part of Chinese medicine, acupuncture is believed to alleviate many health problems. Western research has been difficult to conduct effectively but patients have reported pain relief after surgeries, from lower back problem, from headaches, from fibromyalgia, and from osteoarthritis. Acupuncture has also been shown to reduce nausea and discomfort after chemotherapy treatments.

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The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.

One Response to “Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine: What is the Relation?”

  1. 1
    cheng Says:
    This is a great article describing the background of acupuncture. Many of medical conditions have been soothed by this ancient practice and knowing how the pressure points map to the rest of the body is very scientific, which is why acupuncture works.