Acupuncture is one of the commonly used Traditional Chinese Medicine therapies. It has a clearly recorded history of about 2,000 years. Some Chinese scholars believe that the practice of acupuncture began during the Stone Age when stone knives or sharp edged tools were used to puncture and drain abscesses.
As acupuncture developed, stone knives were discarded and needles of stone and pottery were used. These simple and primitive needles are still used in some of the rural areas of China. Eventually metal needles began to appear and these took the form of the classical “Nine Needles”. The “Nine Needles” were initially made of either bronze, or gold and silver, and seem to have been first used about 2,000 years ago. Some acupuncturists still use gold and silver needles, but most acupuncturists use stainless steel filiform needles now.
Acupuncture as a major technique of Traditional Chinese Medicine is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an effective form of treatment. It is a healing technique of inserting filiform needles into certain body points, known as acupuncture points, to re-adjust the qi in order to allow the body to heal itself. Acupuncture points are the locations where the qi of the channels rises close to the surface of the body. There are twelve main meridians, six of which are yin, six are yang, and numerous minor ones, which form a network of energy channels throughout the body. Along these meridians are more than 400 acupuncture points, classified by the WHO. There may be as many as 2000 points in use for different treatments. All points are listed by name, number and the meridian to which they belong.
How to choose an Acupuncturist?
This is the most important question if you have never received an acupuncture treatment before. Some of the doctors do have a referral list of acupuncturists for their patients. You can also ask family and friends for recommendation. Many acupuncturists specialized in treating certain conditions. You need to choose the right acupuncturist for your medical condition.
You should also consider the acupuncturist’s education background and experience. Acupuncturists in different countries have received training under different curriculum and enrollment policies, and are supervised by different organizations. In China, there are universities specialized in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Many national universities also offer undergraduate and postgraduate program in Chinese medicine. TCM practitioners are supervised by the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine of the People’s Republic of China. Some TCM practitioners suggest that there are three universities offer the best acupuncture degree programs in China: Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
In United States of America, the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) is the accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, in the field of acupuncture, oriental medicine. In United Kingdom, the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board (BAAB) is a not-for-profit company focusing on acupuncture education in the UK.
Students will learn the essential theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine, understand the knowledge and techniques of acupuncture and tuina in acupuncture degree program. In most universities, students will take courses such as diagnostics of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chinese materia medica, acupuncture therapeutics, needling and moxibustion technique, tuina treatment.
What is an Acupuncture Treatment like?
After a Chinese traditional medicine diagnosis is given for a patient, an acupuncture treatment plan is developed considering the overall nature of the illness, as well as any underlying constitutional Chinese traditional medicine patterns of health condition. Acupuncture is relatively painless, often accompanied with a heavy sensation, movement of energy at the point of insertion or along the energy channels.
For your first acupuncture treatment, you should expect your first visit is longer than follow up visits. Experienced acupuncturist needs to gain a complete understanding of your main health concern, general health and lifestyle.