All Chinese healing practices are based on the idea that energy flows through the body in channels called jing-lou (channels and collaterals), later termed by the French as “meridians.” These channels transport energy and life essence from organ to organ. Where there is low energy, or energy or fluid blockage, there is pain and soon, disease.
Acupuncture, one of the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) modalities, is an ancient system of medicine in which fine needles are used to pierce the skin on specific points to a depth of a few millimeters and are then withdrawn after a period of about 28 minutes. The needles can be likened to an antenna that draws in bioelectric energy into a very small port on the body, which then regulates the functions of the meridian system.
Using a correct “prescription” of points, the practitioner can, in effect, change the energy in a patient, open his channels and help his energy move more freely. Again, when energy moves freely, there is no pain or disease.
Acupuncture is no longer the backroom healing art of Chinatown immigrants to the West. On the contrary, it is now so commonly known that it is not only a household word, but it is extremely popular among women in their 40s and 50s and sports competitors. Moreover, acupuncture is becoming increasingly commonplace. Some mainstream medical doctors are now offering it in their offices as an adjunct to their own practices. Indeed, it is a core component of what is termed complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
But many people are still leery of this 5,000-year-old tradition. They wonder if it is real or just marketing hype. Well, rest easy. The World Health Organization (WHO) has vetted this ancient Chinese healing tradition and has publicly announced that acupuncture is suitable for treating dozens of conditions.
According to their website, “The diseases or disorders for which acupuncture therapy has been tested in controlled clinical trials reported in the recent literature can be classified into four categories…”
I list here the first of those categories Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture has been proved — through controlled trials — to be an effective treatment:
- Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy
- Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
- Biliary colic
- Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
- Dysentery, acute bacillary
- Dysmenorrhoea, primary
- Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)
- Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
- Hypertension, essential
- Hypotension, primary
- Induction of labor
- Knee pain
- Low back pain
- Malposition of fetus, correction of
- Morning sickness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Neck pain
- Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction)
- Periarthritis of shoulder
- Postoperative pain
- Renal colic
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Tennis elbow
For more information from the WHO on what studies have been carried out and where they found acupuncture to most successful, go here.
So forget the naysayers and see how acupuncture can work for you. For pain relief, disease treatment, health maintenance, physical performance… it just may be the “missing piece” in your wellness puzzle.
–Dr. Mark Wiley