About AcupunctureAcupuncture is based on the theory that working on points on the surface of the body will affect what goes on inside the body.
This effect is achieved through a meridian or channel system which unifies all the parts of the body. In Chinese Meridian theory, these channels are unseen but are thought to embody a kind of information network. The insertion of very fine needles into points along the meridians is used in acupuncture to rebalance bodily disharmony.
Chinese Medicine is viewed in the West on the one hand as something rather primitive and magical on the other hand it is described to be more true as it is more ancient, more spiritual and more holistic than Western medicine. Both attitudes mystify the subject – one by uncritically undervaluing it, the other by setting it on a pedestal.
Chinese medicine is a coherent and independent system of thought and practices that has been developed over two millennia. Based on ancient texts, it is the result of a continuous process of critical thinking as well as extensive clinical observation and testing.
To Western Medicine (or biomedicine) understanding an illness means uncovering a distinct entity that is separate from the patient’s being. To Chinese Medicine understanding means perceiving the relationships among all the patient’s signs and symptoms in the context of his or her life. The Chinese system is not less logical than the Western, just less analytical.
(From Ted J Kaptchuk: Chinese Medicine, "The web that has no weaver")
Acupuncture can thus often give additional help to any other naturopathic approach and may speed up the progression to natural health.
Cupping and MoxibustionI also use cupping therapy where appropriate. The therapy involves glass cups being applied to the body with an induced vacuum which can give the sensation of deep tissue massage. The burning of dried herb, also called moxibustion near the skin can re-inforce the application of acupuncture.
The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) have published a consensus statement on the efficacy of acupuncture in which they state the following:
Acupuncture as a therapeutic intervention is widely practiced in the United States. [ ] Promising results have emerged, for example, efficacy of acupuncture in adult post-operative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting and in postoperative dental pain. There are other situations such as addiction, stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma for which acupuncture may be useful as an adjunct treatment or an acceptable alternative or be included in a comprehensive management program. Further research is likely to uncover additional areas where acupuncture interventions will be useful. (Acupuncture. NIH Consens Statement Online 1997; 15(5):1-34)
Further readings:Acupuncture and the Raison D'Etre for Alternative Medicine. Bruce Pomeranz, PhD: Interview by Bonnie Horrigan in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, Nov. 1996, Vol.2, No.6, p.85-91
Useful links:World Health Organisation on Acupuncture
British Acupuncture Council
More on how acupuncture works