Term Paper: Acupuncture Is a Traditional Chinese Medical Technique

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Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medical technique that has been practiced in that country for more than 2,000 years. (Acupuncture) the theory that underlies this form of medical treatment is based on a very eastern perception of the function of the body. In essence acupuncture acts through the unblocking of energy centers or Chi in the humans being.

Acupuncture has become one of the most widely known alternative healing therapies practiced today. Briefly this technique works through regulating and balancing the life force of energy fields that flows through the body by the insertion of fine needles at selected points. The theory is that the insertion of these needles in specific points or areas of the body affects and influences the Chi or the "life-force" that flows through the body through energetic channels or meridians. These meridians link the various organs of the body. There are twelve major meridians. The needles stimulate the flow of chi, rebalancing the flow of energy in the body, relieving pain and restoring health. Acupuncture has been found to be effective in the treatment of the symptoms of arthritis, rheumatism and migraine. It has also been be used to help give up smoking, overeating or other addictions. While there are many meridians are described in the traditional texts, but only fourteen are important in practice. There are approximately 500 recognized acupuncture points of which about 100 are commonly used by practitioners. (the Fairbourne Clinic)

This Eastern method has become an integral part of modern Western alternative medicine and it has also been adopted by many Western allopathic or conventional medical practitioners as well. However, the philosophy and the views behind acupuncture are in opposition that of modern allopathic medicine and healthcare; which was the reason for its initial rejection and the difficulty of its acceptance in the Western world. Signs of the acceptance of acupuncture in a Western context can be seen, for example, in the fact that "... Today, the needles are twirled, heated, or even stimulated with weak electrical current, ultrasound, or certain wavelengths of light" (acupuncture).

It should also be noted that there is more to acupuncture than just the insertion of needles. The traditional system is very holistic and takes account of many factors; such as the patient's history as well as a careful analysis of factors such as the patient's diet and aspect such emotions, lifestyle, the weather, body language, voice tone and other factors.

There are two main diagnostic examinations that the acupuncturist makes before the procedure is carried out. One is of the tongue and one of the pulse at the wrist. Placing three fingers on the radial artery at the wrist performs pulse diagnosis. (Pulse Diagnosis) a trained and experienced acupuncturist can tell from reading a pulse which meridians and organs are out of balance on the basis of these examinations the practitioner will make a decision as to which points on the meridian need stimulation or sedation. The needles are inserted into the correct points and left in place for twenty minutes or longer. Most people respond to Acupuncture within four to six treatments. (Frequently asked questions)

Acupuncture poses a problem for the Western mind and mode of thinking. It defies the rational scientific logic of allopathic medicine. "...scientific research can never demonstrate that unblocking chi by acupuncture or any other means is effective against any disease. Chi is defined as being undetectable by the methods of empirical science" (acupuncture). However since its introduction to the West it has received increasing attention, albeit mostly from the fringes of modern medicine and from more "alternative" practitioners. There has been an increasing realization from the more conventional sectors of medical science that acupuncture in fact works and does help to alleviate disease and even cure illness and ailments in certain cases.

It must however be borne in mind that acupuncture comes from a very different medical and philosophical background to Western medicine.

In many areas of Western medicine, rigorously controlled research and carefully documented experience allow fairly definitive answers to questions of diagnosis and treatment of any given malady. Although the quality of research in acupuncture is now better meeting the requirements of Western medicine, we still can rarely answer questions based on a Western scientific-evidence-based model.

American Academy of Medical Acupuncture: General Information)

Therefore acupuncture and the way that it functions has remained something of a mystery to modern conventional medicine. This is mainly due to the differences that exist in world view and theories about reality. Acupuncture is based on the Eastern medical views of health and healing as the correct balance of the various forces and energies in the body. As stated, health from an acupuncturist's point-of-view is the unblocking of the channels that prevents the normal flow of health - giving and healing energy.

On the other hand a definition of allopathic medicine in the West is, "The system of medical practice which treats disease by the use of remedies which produce effects different from those produced by the disease under treatment." (Definition of Allopathic medicine) Western medicine therefore does not generally take cognizance of the body as a whole and usually deals with the symptoms for particular areas of the body. In essence Western medicine is divisive in its approach and separates the areas of the body to treat certain areas in isolation; while acupuncture is more holistic in nature and view the body as in integrated unity that is based on the common flow of life-energy or Chi. Acupuncture takes account the interaction between the various aspects of the body.

The holistic approach is one which takes into account the way that the various components of the body interact, as well as the interaction between of the body, mind and environment...Traditional Chinese medicine...says processes of the human body are interrelated and constantly interact with the environment.

Traditional Chinese medicine)

On the other hand Allopathic medicine is firmly based in what could be termed a dualistic and oppositional view of the human body and human being.

Account of accounts in the West first came via Vietnam, the French were one of the first Western countries to adopted acupuncture and "...Jesuit missionaries first brought back reports of acupuncture in the sixteenth century, and the practice was embraced by French clinicians fairly widely" (White and Ernst) the first recorded medical description of the working of acupuncture was by a European physician Ten Rhijne, in approximately 1680. There was an increase of interest in there healing potential of acupuncture in the Western world in the Nineteenth century in America and the United Kingdom. There were also publications on acupuncture in mainstream medical journals like Lancet. (White and Ernst) However after this period there was a decline of interest and an increased focus on allopathic modes of medicine.

The interest in acupuncture resurfaced in the Twentieth Century when a member of the U.S. press corps was given acupuncture treatment during recovery from an emergency appendectomy in China in 1971. (White and Ernst) This kindled medical and public interest after the incident was reported in the media and "...subsequently teams of U.S. physicians made fact-finding tours of China to assess acupuncture, particularly its use for surgical analgesia. "(White and Ernst) the level of acceptance for acupuncture in there West is shown by the fact that in the U.S.A. A NIH consensus conference reported that there "...was positive evidence for its effectiveness, at least in a limited range of conditions" (White and Ernst).

The history of acupuncture in the West is one of both rejection and acceptance. While many practitioners do not trust this procedure many others find it to have excellent healing potential. The have been many western media experts who have rejected the claims that acupuncturists make.

There has also been the adoption of these methods of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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