Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most commonly used medical procedures in the world. Originating in the area of Southeastern of China and North of Korea more than 4,000 years ago. Acupuncture was essentially unknown in the United States until President Nixon’s visit to China in 1971.
James Reston of the New York Times was treated with acupuncture while serving as a member of the US press corps in China. His first-person account was widely publicized at the time and served to introduce acupuncture to the US.
The term acupuncture describes a family of procedures involving stimulation of anatomical points on the body by a variety of techniques. American practices of acupuncture incorporate medical traditions from China, Korea, Japan, and other countries.
The acupuncture technique that has been most studied scientifically involves penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles that are manipulated by the hands or by electrical stimulation.
The basis of acupuncture and Eastern medicine is the idea of Qi (chi), a life force, or energy. This energy is continuously generated and flows in 14 major meridians in the body. Yin represents the cold, slow, or passive principle, while yang represents the hot, excited, or active principle. When these forces are balanced and the energy flows harmoniously in the 14 meridians, the body is in a state of health. When these energies are unbalanced by pathogenic factors or the flow of these energies become disturbed; the body is then diseased.
Acupuncture clinical practice is directed to the discovery of alterations in the flow of Qi. Acupuncture treatments are intended to reverse these pathologic changes by redirecting the flow of the energy in the meridians through the insertion and manipulation of needles on points along the meridians.
From a Biochemical point of view, acupuncture can regulate the nervous system by stimulating the release of neuro-chemicals like endorphins and immune responders. It has also been shown to alter brain chemistry by mediating how some neuro-transmitters and neuro-hormones are released. This in turn affects parts of the central nervous system which stimulates each part of one’s body – hormones, organs, muscles, circulation, and more. With acupuncture, the body’s organs and systems are able to repair tissue and regulate body defenses better.