Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Acupuncture: The Art of Alternative Healing

It has been quite some time and you haven't been able to get rid of that nagging backache. It started as a small twitch near the shoulder but has now spread to the lower back. Popping painkillers has had no effect except giving you a stomach ache! Your doc says to cut down on your stress and strain, but he doesn't tell you how? Is there any help?

Yes, there is! There is something better than popping pills day in and day out. It has hardly any side effects compared to those painkillers and it is called - Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese method of treating different physiological and psychological problems.

The Chinese treated patients for different ailments by observing their pulse and their tongue. The whole treatment was undertaken on the basis of these two. They realized that the human body was basically made up of energy or Qi, which flowed through a specific path called the Meridians. Each meridian is connected to some organ in the body. Over each meridian lie specific points that have the ability to increase or decrease the quantity and quality of energy flowing through the meridians. Thus by treating these points, specific ailments are cured.

An often-asked question is: Is Acupuncture effective? Research has proved that acupuncture has provided physical as well as psychological relief to patients. Today, Acupuncture is recognized as a complete science in itself and is extremely popular worldwide as an alternative form of healing.

There are two techniques in acupuncture:

1. Insertion of needles
First the acupuncturist collects the patient's detailed medical as well as family history, gains knowledge of his/her eating habits and lifestyle. Then comes the physical examination. There is a very strong stress on pulse taking. The Chinese have identified six main pulse points: three on each wrist and use two kinds of pressures to gain an in depth knowledge of the cause of ailment. The second most important thing is examining the tongue. The acupuncturist watches out for the colour, shape, area and coating of the tongue. This gives him knowledge of the inner physical condition.

Next the meridians and the points are identified. In the actual treatment tiny needles are inserted at specific points identified on the body. In fact this is what acupuncture means --puncture by the needles. After insertion the needles are stimulated either by twirling them or by passing a mild electric current which results in a mild tingling sensation. The needles are inserted for a length of time that ranges from a few seconds to 30 minutes.

2. Use of Moxa
After going through the preliminary examinations the acupuncturist will embark on the actual treatment. In this a herb called Moxa is used. Small cones of the herb are burnt and then rested on the skin to warm and supply energy to the acupuncture points. This energy is then passed through the meridians to the whole system thus striving to overcome the problem

Treatment time
The treatment takes anything from 20 minutes to 1 hour. The first session might turn out to be a bit long but things soon even out.

Frequency of visit
The frequency of the visit is dependent on the nature of the ailment. In the beginning it might be a couple of times a week and then weekly or maybe even less till none is required.

Acupuncture is known to have treated many ailments such as headaches, stress, insomnia, arthritis and many others and that too successfully. It is safe, without any side effects and leads to an overall feeling of well being.

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