Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which originated in China somewhere between 2,000 and 4,000 years ago, is comprised of several disciplines. In the United States, the most popular discipline is Acupuncture. Some of the other disciplines include Chinese Herbal Medicine, Cupping, and Nutritional Counseling. Although eastern and western medicines embrace vastly different approaches to healing, many patients today try a combination of both to maximize their benefits and to achieve a balanced state of wellness. Check out our blogs on Acupuncture and other forms of TCM. Also check out this wellness center that combines east and west treatment modalities.
What is acupuncture?
An age-old form of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture is the practice of penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles at strategic points on your body. While acupuncture is most commonly used to treat pain, it can also be used for overall wellness. Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine believe that the human body has over 2,000 acupuncture points that are connected by pathways (meridians). These pathways, known as Qi, create an energy flow throughout the body and is responsible for your body’s overall health. A disruption in this energy flow can cause health issues. By inserting small needles into these certain points, acupuncture is thought to help improve the flow of Qi and restore your health by rebalancing the body’s energy.
What health problems can acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture can be used to treat many different health issues, although it is most often used to treat chronic (long-term) pain. This includes issues like arthritis, back pain, neck pain, muscle pain, headaches, migraines, knee pain, menstrual cramps, and sports injuries. Other conditions that acupuncture is thought to help include cancer and cancer treatment side effects, nerve discomfort, immune system issues, infertility, irritable bowel syndrome, menopause, hot flashes, pregnancy discomfort, repetitive strain disorders, and overuse syndrome.
Are there different types of acupuncture?
The form of acupuncture most commonly used in the United States is the Traditional Chinese Medicine version. This style of acupuncture prioritizes bringing balance back to the body by restoring the proper flow of Qi along the body’s energy pathways/meridians. Practitioners of this type of acupuncture use fine needles only 1.5 inches long to stimulate energy flow in specific “acupoints.” Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncture may also use moxibustion or cupping to complement your acupuncture treatment.
Similar to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Japanese acupuncture is also based on the Chinese concept of meridian therapy. In this style of acupuncture, practitioners tend to use less needles and insert them at a shallower depth. Japanese-style acupuncture also usually involves the use of touch to assist in figuring out a diagnosis. They will also sometimes use acupressure or moxibustion.
Korean acupuncture is considered to be a combination between both Chinese and Japanese acupuncture practices. Korean acupuncture uses many more needles and also choose to use needles made out of copper instead of the standard stainless steel ones.
There are many other forms of acupuncture like laser acupuncture, teishein, and acupressure. It is best to consult an experienced acupuncturist so that they can decide which form of acupuncture will help you reach your health and wellness goals.