What is acupuncture anyway ?
The Five Branches of Chinese Medicine: First Branch
"The Needle and the Fire"
Acupuncture is an english word that was chosen last century to refer to one aspect of therapy included in the body of healing and medicine known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), most commonly called Chinese Medicine (CM) these days.
It all started here
In Chinese there are two characters (zhen and zhou) that were simplified (dumbed down?) last century as acupuncture. Sometimes it translates, almost as poorly, as "acu-moxa therapy" because the character for zhen equates to the needle while the character zhou equates to fire (via moxibustion). They are always considered together as the medical classics state that disease that cannot be cured with the needle will with the fire, and vice versa.
We also need to be mindful of the fact that as therapeutic modalities, acupuncture and moxibustion would be ineffective without the body of the Chinese medical system of diagnostics that guides and justifies their use at all. I can't tell you how many people come to clinic and report that they have had "acupuncture" usually done by a GP or physio without proper training in either technique or diagnostics to guide the treatment. I always reply that they have had needling, but not acupuncture, at which time I explain the difference.
Why does this matter anyway
“Things matter and the conditioning runs deep”
The main take away point here is that it takes years of study and contemplation in the art and science of Chinese medicine, followed by years of experience, to have the ability to properly deliver safe and effective treatment based on the model that is the foundation for the therapy in the first place. Don't trust yourHealth yourLife to just anyone ... choose an expert in the field
We got this !
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine represent a whole approach to both the identification and management of disease, and the maintenance of health; They focus as much on the prevention of illness as on the treatment of illness.
When we are healthy, ample Qi and blood flow smoothly through the body along channels sometimes called meridians, and vessels, connecting the surface of the body with the internal organs. If the flow of Qi and blood is blocked in any way or there is a lack of Qi or blood, then the body will have difficulty remaining in balance, hence the development of pain and/or ill heath. We also focus on the balance of heat and cold, dry and damp, and the interaction between the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal and water) in your body, mind and spirit.
The flow of Qi and blood can become imbalanced through a number of factors including lifestyle, poor nutrition, overwork, weather and environmental conditions, hereditary factors, trauma, stress/anxiety, and infections. [‘Huang-di Nei Jing Su-wen’(Inner Classic of the Yellow Emperor), Beijing, People’s Press, 1963]
Acupuncture points are specific sites on a meridian/channel where the flow of Qi can be influenced and stimulated. “Meridians/Channels are an invisible network linking vital substances to organs and carrying nourishment and strength. Meridians/Channels unify all parts of the body which is essential to remaining in a harmonious balance.”