Acupuncture is a healing method that originated in China 5,000 years ago. Chi is energy thought to travel along pathways that are closely aligned with the nervous system. The pathways are called meridians. There are twelve meridians and each is associated with an organ. If chi comes up to an organ but cannot enter, a person experiences a set of health problems. If chi enters an organ but cannot exit, a person experiences a different set of health problems. Acupuncture influences the chi so energy will flow smoothly up, into and through an organ.
Canadians are the North American leaders in recognizing the health contribution of acupuncture. Over the past two decades, more Americans are accepting the practice. Meanwhile, the famous Canadian doctor, Sir William Osler, endorsed acupuncture for low back pain over a hundred years ago. Osler is often called the “Father of Modern Medicine.”
Influencing the chi is accomplished when an acupuncture practitioner inserts tiny needles into the skin along a meridian. The body has more than 1,000 acupuncture points for the practitioner to choose from. The patient may feel a prick, but the needles are not uncomfortable. The treatments generally last from 20 to 30 minutes.
Acupuncture is a treatment for physical problems including sports injuries. It is used to treat headaches or pain in the back, shoulder or hip. Unlike medications, acupuncture can treat these conditions without causing side-effects.
Medications may provide short-term pain relief. Pain is reduced by blocking the substances the body interprets as pain. Medications can decrease the amount of blood that flows to muscles and joints. This means healing may take longer.
Acupuncture can increase blood circulation. Good circulation allows muscles to relax. Relaxed muscles help to reduce pain. Occasionally, the progression goes from a pain increase to muscle relaxation followed by healing of tissue.
Acupuncture treatment does more than treat pain. Anxiety and depression are closely related. Both are common mood disorders. Anxiety is normal before a job interview or speaking before a group. However, there are times when anxiety interferes with normal daily routines. Higher degrees of anxiety manifest as a panic attack, phobias or as post-traumatic stress disorder. Someone may constantly worry, feel shaky, tired and have poor concentration.
Depression is a condition that leads to chemical imbalances in the brain. Factors that contribute to depression include heredity and low self-esteem. Circumstances such as financial problems can contribute to depression. Often, depression is the result of several factors.
Medicines for treating anxiety and depression need to be taken from one to three months. In contrast, acupuncture may bring healing with the first treatment, although between three to six treatments is normal. Acupuncture does not have negative side-effects. Acupuncture does not lead to addiction or drug dependence. Once cured, the patients stay well even when new stressful situations arise.
Acupuncture helps to restore the energy imbalances in the body. It can successfully treat digestive, respiratory, neurological and muscular disorders. It relieves reproductive, urinary and menstrual problems. It is an alternative medicine worth considering.