Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical practice that in recent times uses small and thin needles carefully inserted into various parts of the body to treat and eliminate certain pains, diseases, and sicknesses by promoting healing to the body. According to ancient Chinese beliefs; there is an energy inside and throughout the body called “Qi“, pronounced as “Chee”.
This energy passes as basically straight lines along a large number of centers also known as contact areas, or points; commonly known as “Acupuncture points”. There are traditionally 350 Acupuncture points in the body, but some Acupuncturists claim there are over 2,000 such points.There are also Acupuncture points with corresponding meridians to the ear, wrist, base of the thumb, and hand valley point (the area within the firm skin between the thumb and index finger), Everything so far described constitutes what is known as a channel or much better known as a “meridian” When there is too much energy or too little energy or blocked areas, then the imbalance causes pains, diseases, and sickness. The Chinese believe that sticking needles in the skin above these meridian lines of force helps correct flow imbalance.
The meridians are believed to connect from the surface of the body to internal organs. There are 12 primary meridians that have bilateral connections. The dozen meridians correspond to 12 organs: the lung, large intestine, stomach, heart, small intestine, bladder, kidney, and pericardium (the membrane enclosing the heart consisting of an outer fibrous layer and an inner double layer of serous membrane.
Acupuncture seems to have started, little by little, according to some researchers, around 400 BCE (Before Common Era) in China, and by 200 BCE was quite established. But, over the many centuries, Acupuncture evolved more and more. According to Chinese story tradition, Acupuncture has 3 fathers. The first was Fu Yi, also known as Bao Xi, born in the 29th century BCE, the first legendary emperor of China, who used 9 types of needles. The 2md father of Acupuncture is believed to be Shen Non, 3,500 BCE to 2,600 BCE, who used a lot of herbal medicines. The 3rd father was Huang Di, The Yellow Emperor who lived during the warring states period: 475 BCE to 221 BCE. The first documentation of acupuncture is in the writings that describe it as an organized system of diagnosis and treatment in “The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine” dating from 100 BCE.
In very, early acupuncture, what was first used was highly sharpened stones and bones and later on bamboo. Eventually over the years in ancient times, metal needles were used that were made from brass, iron, copper, silver, and even gold, and these needles were much thicker and much heavier than the type of acupuncture needles used today. those needles especially caused bleeding and soon infection from constant use and from not being sterilized. Acupuncture needles in current use are normally made of nickel-chromium steel wire or stainless steel in sizes from 26 to 40 gauge in lengths from 0.5 inches to 2.5 inches.
Acupuncture needles, in very olden times were pierced deeper into the skin than the depth that they are used for today, and even decades ago. Today, Acupuncture needles generally go little into the skin, only about one fourth of an inch to half an inch and the needles are very thin and very light. If the needles go too deep, they can hit and damage a nerve. Acupuncture needles placed too deeply into the skin can also puncture the lungs or gallbladder or cause problems with blood vessels and muscles. In general, Acupuncture needles are left in place,moderate deep, for 20 to 40 minutes, but many Acupuncturists let the needless remain within the skin for 10 to 20 minutes.
There are some people who report negative effects after receiving Acupuncture. Such bad effects include, but are not limited to the following conditions: worse symptoms, fatigue, soreness, busing, bleeding, muscle twitching, sweating, light-headedness, and emotional release.
Various individuals claim that Acupuncture really helped them; really healed them. But, very often, Acupuncture is used in conjunction with other remedies to heal various aliments. There are other people who experience no outstanding healing effects that can be directly attributed to the acupuncture. There is no modern scientific evidence that established acupuncture as a real form of medicine that can treat or cure pain, disease, and sickness. Acupuncturists claim the needles in the body stimulate a healing chemical in the nervous system, but there is no solid evidence thereto.
Can Acupuncture really heal? As stated before, many centuries ago, Acupuncture needles were much thicker, heavier, and sharper than today’s Acupuncture needles and were inserted at least somewhat deeper than in today’s general application. By causing pain from such needles in a certain part of the body, that is more than the pain the patient sought the Acupuncture treatment originally for, then the result is that the mind concentrates on that stronger area of pain and begins to think a good bit less than the other pain. Thus, the other original pain has been felt less or if not strong to begin with, can become “masked” through the much stronger pain of the Acupuncture needles. Thus an illusion of pain relief from Acupuncture can occur. This matter is especially true for the needled person that develops a certain pain endurance to the Acupuncture needles. After a while, the Acupuncture needles are pulled out and the pain from them goes away, and any soreness should eventually go away.
Acupuncture can also stimulate a strong placebo effect in regards to alleviating pains and soreness, especially among those individuals who have great respect for Acupuncture and have been raised in families that put their faith and trust in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) which, of course, includes Acupuncture.
Acupuncture use in the USA must follow certain strict requirements of the CFR (Code of Federal Regulations), Title 21 including the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) rules that includes the types of needles used, the needles are to be made of stainless steel with handles (to help prevent against needle breakage with sticking needles), that needles can only be used once. New needles are to be indicated as new and no re-using needles under any circumstances. Furthermore, Acupuncture use is to be done under the proper supervision of a licensed medical doctor.
In addition, in the USA, there are certain states that have requirements. One such requirement is that Acupuncturists must be state licensed.