Acupuncture has been used to treat a variety of illnesses for more than 2,000 years. Acupuncture is a component of the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) system of medicine. As such, a diagnosis based on TCM is generally made prior to the administration of acupuncture needles. This TCM diagnosis, which is much different than diagnosis in Western medicine, is based on a practitioner's observation (pulse and tongue) and a thorough patient interview.
The patient interview is useful for:
- Assessing the body's balance of yin and yang (hot or cold properties),
- Evaluating deficiency or excess patterns of disease, and
- Determining the state of the body's internal organs and channels.
Once an assessment is made, a series of acupuncture points is selected to improve the balance of yin and yang, to harmonize a deficient or excess condition, and to nourish the organ or channel involved in the disease process. Stimulation of the selected acupoints (situated along 'meridians' in the body) by inserting needles is believed to promote the flow of energy through the system, and thereby restore the body's balance.
Acupuncture is the insertion of needles into specific acupoints found on the body meridians. Manipulation of the needle following insertion can assist with moving the qi, and can help to nourish or sedate the channel. The needles used are thin and are felt mostly when they first touch the skin. All acupuncture needles used are single-use disposable needles.
The theory of the channels is fundamental to the understanding of acupuncture. There are 365 mapped acupuncture points along the 12 major channels, as well as over a thousand extra points found on the hand, ear and scalp. Qi (pronounced "chi") is the energy moved through the channels and the movement of qi helps to balance yin and yang, balance an excess or deficiency in the body, and nourish the internal organs.
Acupuncture has been used in connection with the following conditions:
- Irregular periods
- Painful periods and PMS
- Headaches (tension and migraine)
- Back pain
- Allergies and sinusitis
- Chronic pain
- Erectile dysfunction
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- High blood pressure
- Urinary tract infection
- Musculoskeletal problems