Acupuncture Healing

 ACUPUNCTURE HEALING

 

Acupuncture has been an essential part of medicine for thousands of years in the East, yet even as it catches on in the West, physicians in this part of the world have yet to figure out exactly how this ancient technique works. Whatever the mechanisms, acupuncture does appear to work. Scientific studies are offering real evidence that it can ease pain and treat ailments ranging from osteoarthritis to migraine headaches. 

The technique of acupuncture involves placing hair-thin needles in various pressure points (called acupoints) throughout the body. Stimulating these points is believed to promote the body's natural healing capabilities and enhance its function. Other methods other than needles can be employed such as acupressure or laser therapy, guasha or moxabustion herbs.

East Meets West

Two different theories exist as to how acupuncture works.

Chinese philosophy says the body contains two opposing forces: yin and yang. When these forces are in balance, the body is healthy. Energy, called "qi" (pronounced "chee"), flows like rivers along pathways, or meridians, throughout the body. This constant flow of energy keeps the yin and yang balanced. However, the flow of energy can sometimes be blocked, like water in a river becoming sooted up. A disruption in the flow of energy can lead to illness.

 


needles entering the skin
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Acupuncture needles entering the skin.

Approximately 2,000 different acupuncture points lie along the body's meridians. The idea behind acupuncture is that stimulating these points with acupuncture needles or pressure relieves obstructions in the flow of energy, enabling the body to heal. It is like rebooting a computer but it is a very sophisticated reboot. Where stimulating the acupuncture point brings a rush of energy to that point and all its associated organs and body parts. This rush of energy can then be manipulated by the skilled acupuncturist. So then too much energy can be drained off- too little energy can be built up to more normal levels. Energy shunting in the wrong directions can be brought into a healthy flow. It is not just inserting a needle that works. It is FEELING the Qi and moving it in a way that is meaningful to the patients health and emotions and life.

In the Western view, acupuncture likely works by stimulating the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) via the peripheral nervous system  to release chemicals called neurotransmitters and hormones. These chemicals dull pain, boost the immune system and regulate various body functions. Of course it does do this however there is so much more to this art that the western view comprehends.

Acupuncture has been part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for thousands of years.

The foundation of Chinese acupuncture is the belief in an energy force called Qi (pronounced ‘chee’). This energy, or life force, circulates around the body through invisible channels called meridians. If the flow of Qi in the meridians is disrupted, then disease may follow. By inserting fine needles into particular acupuncture points, the disruption can be corrected and the flow of Qi restored.

It is tremendously interesting that the acupuncture meridians are basically similar to magnetic field lines that run through the body and affects the functioning and health. Just as the earth has magnetic field lines. Humans are like mini earths walking around. They do have the same proportion of water and also they have the same mineral make up as sea water. In fact in Chinese philosophy ideas and insights that worked in agriculture were adapted to the humans for the acupuncture healing and this brought marvelous healing effects.

It was also the Chinese who developed the first ever compass that can measure the earths magnetic field. Likewise they were aware of the more subtle magnetic field forces that flow through the human body.

Scientific trials around the world have found that when acupuncture is performed by a skilled practitioner, it is a safe and useful treatment for many different disorders.

Effectiveness of acupuncture


Research has found that acupuncture may be effective in treating a range of disorders in areas including:

  • Digestive – colitis, constipation, diarrhoea, gastritis, ulcers
  • Emotional – anxiety, depression
  • Gynaecological – heavy menstrual bleeding, painful periods, menopausal symptoms, pre-menstrual syndrome, fertility
  • Musculoskeletal – back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, tennis elbow and whiplash
  • Neurological– Bell’s palsy, carpal tunnel syndrome, headache, Meniere’s disease, migraine, pain, paralysis, shingles
  • Respiratory – asthma, bronchitis, common cold, hay fever
  • Vascular – haemorrhoids, high blood pressure, varicose veins
  • General – chronic fatigue syndrome, giving up smoking, muscle injuries, obesity, stress management, tiredness, travel sickness.

Clinical evidence of effectiveness of acupuncture


The British National Health Service carried out a systematic review of the evidence for the use of acupuncture to treat or manage a range of disorders. They found that there was evidence that acupuncture is effective to treat dental pain, jaw pain and to control nausea after operations and chemotherapy treatment.

In fact the world Health Organisation lists the following benefits of acupuncture

Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture has been proved – through controlled trials—to be an effective treatment:

  • Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy

  • Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)

  • Biliary colic

  • Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)

  • Dysentery, acute bacillary

  • Dysmenorrhoea, primary

  • Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)

  • Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)

  • Headache

  • Hypertension, essential

  • Hypotension, primary

  • Induction of labour

  • Knee pain

  • Leukopenia

  • Low back pain

  • Malposition of fetus, correction of

  • Morning sickness

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Neck pain

  • Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction)

  • Periarthritis of shoulder

  • Postoperative pain

  • Renal colic

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Sciatica

  • Sprain

  • Stroke

  • Tennis elbow

 

Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which the therapeutic effect of acupuncture has been shown but for which further proof is needed: (These conditions we have succeeded with in our clinic)

  • Abdominal pain (in acute gastroenteritis or due to gastrointestinal spasm)

  • Acne vulgaris

  • Alcohol dependence and detoxification

  • Bell’s palsy

  • Bronchial asthma

  • Cancer pain

  • Cardiac neurosis

  • Cholecystitis, chronic, with acute exacerbation

  • Cholelithiasis

  • Competition stress syndrome

  • Craniocerebral injury, closed

  • Diabetes mellitus, non-insulin-dependent

  • Earache

  • Epidemic haemorrhagic fever

  • Epistaxis, simple (without generalized or local disease)

  • Eye pain due to subconjunctival injection

  • Female infertility

  • Facial spasm

  • Female urethral syndrome

  • Fibromyalgia and fasciitis

  • Gastrokinetic disturbance

  • Gouty arthritis

  • Hepatitis B virus carrier status

  • Herpes zoster (human (alpha) herpesvirus 3)

  • Hyperlipaemia

  • Hypo-ovarianism

  • Insomnia

  • Labour pain

  • Lactation, deficiency

  • Male sexual dysfunction, non-organic

  • Ménière disease

  • Neuralgia, post-herpetic

  • Neurodermatitis

  • Obesity

  • Opium, cocaine and heroin dependence

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Pain due to endoscopic examination

  • Pain in thromboangiitis obliterans

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (Stein–Leventhal syndrome)

  • Postextubation in children

  • Postoperative convalescence

  • Premenstrual syndrome

  • Prostatitis, chronic

  • Pruritus

  • Radicular and pseudoradicular pain syndrome

  • Raynaud syndrome, primary

  • Recurrent lower urinary-tract infection

  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy

  • Retention of urine, traumatic

  • Schizophrenia

  • Sialism, drug-induced

  • Sjögren syndrome

  • Sore throat (including tonsillitis)

  • Spine pain, acute

  • Stiff neck

  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction

  • Tietze syndrome

  • Tobacco dependence

  • Tourette syndrome

  • Ulcerative colitis, chronic

  • Urolithiasis

  • Vascular dementia

  • Whooping cough (pertussis)

Philosophy of acupuncture


The ancient Chinese proposed that a balance of two opposing yet complementary forces of energy, called Yin and Yang, sustain every living thing. Half the body’s organs and meridians are defined as Yin in relation to the other half, which are defined as Yang. When Yin and Yang are out of balance in the body, disease may occur.

 

How acupuncture is performed


Pre-sterilised disposable needles should be used. Depending on the location of the treatment, you will either sit or lie down. Properly done, acupuncture is painless because the needles are very fine (around 0.2 mm wide - in our clinic we usually use 0.18 mm thick). When the needles are inserted, you may feel mild tingling around the site, warmth or heaviness, or even nothing at all.

An acupuncturist may use other techniques -we use all of these in our clinic.:

  • Cupping – suction designed to bring Qi and blood to the acupuncture point
  • Chinese herbs – either mixed by the acupuncturist or in pre-prepared tablet or granulated form
  • Laser – used instead of the needles to activate acupuncture points
  • TCM remedial massage – techniques applied to specific acupuncture points or meridians
  • Moxibustion – burning herbs held over or applied to acupuncture points.
  • Electric Stimulation including the Peizoelectric stimulator.

 

What to expect from acupuncture


After a session of acupuncture you will normally feel relaxed and refreshed, but specific responses depend on each person. For instance, some people feel energised, while others feel sleepy. Occasionally, the symptoms get a little worse before they improve.

In our clinic we usually give some form of meditation and most people find this tremendously empowering and beneficial.

We do combine our principles of Chiropractic Healing with acupuncture healing.

The number of treatments you need depends on your condition. In most cases, people experience a reduction in symptoms within a few sessions. The idea of acupuncture is to restore the natural balance of energy inside your body. Once the balance is restored, the body can take care of itself and no further treatments are necessary. However the ancient healers, once their patients were on top of their ailment used to treat the people they would look after at least every change of season. They emphasised healing condition before the condition bad enough to create a symptom in the patient.

The ancient healers went through times as well where they were paid when the patient was well rather than when the patient was sick. This way they were very motivated to keep their patients well.

At out clinic we also believe that most patients should have their system helped at least every two to three months. This is because the stresses and toxins and challenges of our modern world are extremely taxing on our health. However there are many people who have treatment much more regularly than this because their lifestyle and also their condition means they cannot reduce the frequency to only every two to three months. So they would rather be well and feel good and have treatments more often. It is our philosophy though to try to reduce patients visits by educating them on how to look after their own health and also get their life in balance so that they can stretch their visits out. Having a treatment does not take the place of a lifestyle that is healthy.

Choosing an acupuncturist


The philosophy of acupuncture is complex taking years to understand, so you should only use a qualified acupuncturist. Many doctors will refer for acupuncture however Acupuncturists are primary health care practitioners so you don't actually need a referral.

Many health professionals offer "dry needling" and some of them are effective at supplementing their own work with this for of therapy. However it lacks the deep philosophy and training that traditional acupuncturists are trained in.

Risks of acupuncture


In the hands of an unskilled practitioner, acupuncture may lead to a number of minor  problems including:

  • Allergic reactions – herbs are sometimes burnt over the skin to create specific points of heat near acupuncture points. Herbs are as powerful as pharmaceutical medications and need to be treated with the same respect and caution
  • Infection – if the needle is un-sterile, bacteria can cause local infection. There is also a risk of contracting hepatitis, HIV or any other blood-borne disease if the needles are reused however all needles used in our clinic as well as in every clinic that we are aware off use only single use disposable needles that have been pre-sterilised by the manufacturer. So when they are used the possibility of infection is virtually nil.
  • Injury to the skin – clumsy insertion, or entry of a needle into a blood vessel, can cause bleeding, bruising and pain.
  • Unexpected side effects – such as an increase in pain, depression, convulsions or insomnia. Acupuncture can produce significant changes within the nervous system and it is vital that the correct points are stimulated in the right way. These reactions are very very rare and if they do occur the competent acupuncturist has no trouble in helping you move out of this healing crisis.

 

Acupuncture Schools of Thought

Several different types of acupuncture exist, all originating from different parts of the world. Most often registered acupuncturists use the type of acupuncture based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, which restores the natural flow of energy by stimulating pressure points throughout the body that correspond to various organ systems.

Japanese acupuncture is more subtle than its Chinese counterpart. Its needles are thinner and shorter, and they barely pierce the skin. Japanese acupuncture is divided into two forms: root and local. Root acupuncture addresses the total energy imbalance in the body, while local acupuncture treats specific symptoms.

Five Element acupuncture is an ancient Chinese technique used to treat problems of both the body and the mind. It is based on the idea that health, just like everything else in the universe, is governed by the five elements: water, wood, fire, earth, and metal. Restoring a balance of these elements in the body, the theory goes, will result in good health.

 

points of the ear
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Acupuncture points of the ear

Auricular acupuncture was developed in France, and it focuses all of the body's acupuncture points in just the ear. Two hundred points line the ears, and each point is connected to an area or areas of the body. When a point is stimulated, it creates electrical impulses that flow, via the brain, to a specific part of the body. For example, if the point on the ear that correlates to the knee is stimulated, it will affect pain or symptoms in the knee. Auricular acupuncture is believed to be just as effective as whole body acupuncture, because stimulating the ear is thought to affect chi flow throughout the body.

Korean hand acupuncture is similar to auricular acupuncture, except that the focal point is the hand, rather than the ear. Points on the hand meridians, when stimulated, correspond to various parts of the body.

In our clinic we have been trained in all these techniques however we tend to favour traditional Chinese acupuncture and also five element and also Auricular Acupuncture.

 

 

PETS

Some patients also book in their pet regularly with us- it is not unusual for us to treat a dog or cat or goat or even at times a cow or a horse.

We always use acupuncture or acupressure and also chiropractic healing. We have even treated some lamas and have had kangaroos and wallabies of all ages jump down our hallway. Animals do respond extremely well to acupuncture or acupressure.

We also use acupuncture on children's health and behavioral issues- however sometimes we do not use needles on them but use acupressure and also little magnets that are plastered on the skin with a small band-aid.

Dogs, cats, horses, and even birds and rabbits are getting acupuncture to treat conditions ranging from pain to skin problems to urinary tract disorders. The Chinese actually began healing their pets with acupuncture during the Jin Dynasty (136-265 A.D.). In the 1970s the practice began catching on in the western countries.

 

Pet acupuncture isn’t much different from the human variety. Needles are placed in specific pressure points throughout the animals’ body that correspond to the affected areas. Although pets can’t say how they’re feeling during the procedure, some vets claim that acupuncture has a calming effect on animals. The American Veterinary Medical Association recognizes acupuncture as a legitimate treatment, and some pet insurance plans will even cover the costs. Their is a growing number of Vets in Australia who either use acupuncture themselves or refer their pet clients to practitioners.

Acupuncture Styles and Related Techniques

Traditional acupuncture involves placing needles at specific pressure points throughout the body. Several different variations of this technique exist, however. Some practitioners add heat or electrical stimulation to enhance the treatment effects, while others substitute pressure for needles.

Electroacupuncture sends an electrical current through the needles to stimulate pressure points during acupuncture.

Sonopuncture applies sound waves to the acupuncture points. The vibrations stimulate pressure points in a more subtle way than needles. Sonopuncture is often combined with acupuncture.

Acupressure follows the same principle as acupuncture, but it uses pressure rather than needles. The therapist presses on the patient's acupoints with his or her fingers, and holds for a few seconds.

 

moxa paper
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Moxa wrapped in paper prepared to be lit
and placed to the skin.

Moxibustion uses heat to stimulate acupoints. The heat is generated by burning an herb called moxa, which comes from the mugwort plant. There are two types of moxibustion: direct and indirect. In direct moxibustion, a piece of the herb about the size of a grain of rice is placed directly on the skin and burned at an acupuncture point. Because this can be painful and can leave scars, many practitioners today opt for indirect moxibustion, in which the piece of moxa is wrapped in paper, lit and held close to the skin. Sometimes moxa is wrapped around the acupuncture needles and lit to add extra stimulation to the acupuncture treatment.

Cupping places heated jars or cups over the skin. Suction pulls the skin into the cups, creating a vacuum-like effect that stimulates the acupuncture points.

What Conditions can Acupuncture Treat?

Acupuncture is used to treat several different medical and psychological conditions, with varying degrees of success. These conditions include:

Addiction

Asthma
Bronchitis (acute)

Cancer pain and nausea control after chemotherapy

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Chest infections

Constipation

Diarrhea
Headaches (including migraines)

Fibromyalgia

Low-back pain
Menstrual cramps

Osteoarthritis

Post-surgical pain and nausea
Shoulder pain

Sinusitis

Spastic colon
Stress and anxiety

Stroke rehabilitation

Tennis elbow
Urinary problems

Acupuncture can either be used on its own, or combined with traditional medical treatments (such as surgery or medication) or alternative remedies (such as chiropractic manipulation and herbal therapies).

 

 

The Evidence on Acupuncture

The research so far on acupuncture has been mixed, but several studies have indicated that it's effective for treating certain conditions. Here are a few highlights of the research so far:

  • Osteoarthritis. A 2004 study in the "Annals of Internal Medicine" found that acupuncture significantly reduced pain and improved function in people with osteoarthritis of the knee that couldn't be helped by medicine. The study included 294 patients with chronic osteoarthritis. After eight weeks, participants who received acupuncture reported far less pain in their affected knee than those who didn't receive the treatment.
  • Fibromyalgia. A 2006 Mayo Clinic study of 50 patients found that acupuncture significantly improved the symptoms of fibromyalgia, a condition that causes muscle pain, fatigue, and joint stiffness.
    women doing acupuncture
    Photo courtesy of Dreamstime
    Acupuncture can help women
    with breast cancer going
    through chemotherapy.

  • Chemotherapy-induced nausea. A 2000 study in the "Journal of the American Medical Association" found that electroacupuncture plus an anti-nausea medication relieved nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy better than medication alone. The study included 104 women with breast cancer who had been given high-dose chemotherapy. Women in the electroacupuncture group had a third of the vomiting episodes of those in the medication group. An earlier analysis of 11 studies also found acupuncture to be effective for nausea related to chemotherapy, as well as surgery and pregnancy.
  • In-vitro fertilization. A trio of 2006 studies in the "Fertility and Sterility Journal" suggested that acupuncture may help women who are undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures. When women had acupuncture before and after embryo transfer, they were anywhere from eight percent to 18 percent more likely to get pregnant than women who had sham acupuncture (outlined below) or no treatment. The only caveat -- one of the studies found that women who had acupuncture were slightly more likely to miscarry.
  • Bladder control problems. A report in the July 2005 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology found that acupuncture may relieve overactive bladder. Out of a group of 74 women, those who were treated with acupuncture for bladder control had 30 percent fewer urgent trips to the bathroom, compared with only 3 percent fewer trips in the group that received sham acupuncture.

Despite the favorable research, some experts caution that it's difficult to test acupuncture in a clinical setting. In part, this is because any valid clinical study will include a control group that is given a sham treatment (placebo). In the case of acupuncture, the placebo consists of needles inserted in random points, rather than at actual pressure points. This can lead to what's called the placebo effect -- when study participants believe that they've received the real treatment and expect their symptoms to improve. As evidence, a 2006 study in the "British Medical Journal" found that acupuncture reduced the number of days patients suffered from tension headaches, but sham acupuncture in the study had almost the exact same results.

Also, the quality of the research conducted so far on acupuncture hasn't been consistent. Many of the studies in the past have been small, and have focused on short-term, rather than long-term results. Larger controlled trials are needed to truly prove acupuncture's effectiveness, some experts say.

 

Acupuncture Points and Acupuncture Needles

 

 
Acupuncture, like any type of treatment, begins with a consultation. The acupuncturist will ask about your medical history and any conditions you're currently experiencing. Then, he or she will examine you and identify the organ(s) involved in your problem.

The next step is to map the pressure points on the appropriate meridian(s) that correspond to your ailment.

Twelve main meridians run throughout the body. Each meridian contains a number of pressure points. To represent each point, the initials of the meridian are followed by a number (e.g., LI 19 or GB 1).

Bladder (UB)

Gall bladder (GB)
Heart (HT)

Kidney (KD)

Liver (LV)

Lung (LU)

Large intestine (LI)

Pericardium (PC)
Small intestine (SI)

Spleen (SP)

Stomach (ST)
Triple heater (TH)

Needles may be placed in the immediate area of the problem, or at distant sites in other parts of the body. For example, low-back pain is treated by stimulating acupoint UB 54 in the bladder meridian. Often, points in different areas of the body (front and back, left and right side, or above and below the waist) are stimulated simultaneously to increase the treatment effectiveness.

What You Can Expect During Acupuncture

When the acupuncturist is ready to begin your treatment, he or she will swab the chosen points on your body with alcohol or another disinfectant to cleanse the area, and will then insert between three and 15 needles in your skin. How deep the needles go can vary from less than a quarter of an inch to three inches.

 

acupuncture needles
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Acupuncture needles
The needles are hair-thin and made of solid stainless steel. You may feel slight pain while the needles are inserted, but once they're in the skin, you shouldn't feel any discomfort. Some people say they feel relaxed during an acupuncture treatment.

The needles will stay in your body from 5 to 20 minutes. While the needles are in your skin, the acupuncturist may twirl, heat, or electrically stimulate them.

Most people have acupuncture once a week for about 12 weeks, although the number of sessions can vary depending on the problem being treated. In the beginning, you may have to visit more often, and then, as your symptoms improve, you can begin spacing the visits further and further apart.

How much your treatment costs will depend on the acupuncturist's experience, the number of treatments, and the city in which you live, but the typical range is $60 to $120 per session. Many private insurance companies will cover the cost, but Medicare will not pay for acupuncture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Safe is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is considered to be very safe. In 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began classifying acupuncture needles as medical instruments, and it now requires that acupuncturists use only sterile, disposable needles. Also, acupuncturists will swab the acupuncture areas first with an antiseptic, so there is very little risk of infection. It's very important to visit a licensed practitioner, however, because poorly sterilized needles can transmit infectious diseases.

The most common side effects with acupuncture are soreness, slight bleeding, irritation or bruising at the needle site. Some people may feel tired or lightheaded after a session. In very rare cases, more serious complications can occur if the acupuncture needles pierce the kidney, lungs or another organ.

Despite its general safety, acupuncture isn't for everyone. People who have a bleeding disorder or who are taking blood thinners (such as Heparin and Coumadin) should not have the treatment. It's also not recommended for people who have pacemakers, implanted electrical devices or infusion pumps.

 

acupuncturist
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Make sure your acupuncturist is licensed.

The History of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is one of the oldest medical treatments in existence, originating in China more than 2,500 years ago. Its philosophy is rooted in the traditional teachings of Taoism, which promotes harmony between humans and the world around them, and a balance between yin and yang.

Several pivotal texts throughout the centuries helped promote acupuncture's tenets. The earliest mention of acupuncture can be found in the "The Nei Jing (Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine)" by Huang Di, which dates back to around 300 B.C. The book describes various diseases, their origins and descriptions of acupuncture points. In 260 A.D., the well-known physician Huang-Fu Mi compiled a 12-volume text describing acupuncture, called the "Zhen Jiu Jia Yi Jing (Comprehensive Manual of Acupuncture and Moxibustion)." His book describes many of the acupoints that are used today, with an explanation of where and how deeply to insert each needle.

The earliest acupuncturists used needles made from stone and bone. Later, needles were made from metal (bronze, gold, and silver). Originally, there were only 365 pressure points in the body, each of which corresponded to a different day of the year. Eventually, that number grew to more than 2,000 different points.

 

symbol for health with needles.
Photo courtesy of Dreamstime
Acupuncture is thought to have started in China.
By the early 19th century, travelers to China were introducing acupuncture to the West. Doctors in Europe and the United States began experimenting with the technique. One of acupuncture's biggest early proponents in the West was a French scholar named George Soulie de Morant. He traveled to China at the turn of the 20th century. When he returned to France after nearly two decades, he introduced French physicians to the classical acupuncture texts and techniques.

Acupuncture became popular in the United States in the 1970s, buoyed by President Nixon's trip to China. The first known mention of acupuncture in the American media was an article by "New York Times" reporter James Reston, in which he described how acupuncture relieved his pain after appendix surgery.

In the last three decades, acupuncture has caught on and has gained credibility in Australia and the United States. Today, there are established guidelines that govern its use, and organized societies of trained acupuncture professionals. According to the 2002 National Health Interview survey-the biggest survey of complementary and alternative medicine to date-an estimated 8.2 million American adults have used acupuncture.

 

 

Are Acupuncture Meridians Proven- YES

This short 3-minute video introduces the work of scientists at Seoul National University in Korea who have apparently confirmed the existence of what is now referred to as the “primo-vascular system,” a crucial part of the cardiovascular system. Formerly proposed to exist by North Korean scientist Kim Bong-han in the early 1960’s, and typically called Bonghan ducts or channels, the existence of this system in various organs has now been corroborated by further research.

These researchers believe the primo-vascular system is in fact the physical component of the Acupuncture meridian system. It has also been suggested that this system is involved in channeling the flow of energy and information relayed by biophotons and DNA.

 

 

Science Finally Proves Meridians Exist

 
MeridiansFeature4

What the Merging of Spirituality and Science means for you

“In every culture and in every medical tradition before ours, healing was accomplished by moving energy.” – Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, Biochemist and Nobel Prize Winner.

For centuries the ancient wisdom keepers and healers in several traditions had a keen understanding of the energetic body. The healing traditions from China, India, Japan and Tibet, as well as other countries all spoke of energy channels, meridians or nadis along which the vital energy flowed.

Life was considered to be a bio-electrical and vibrational energy phenomenon and so health revolved around balancing energy through various means. Life existed because of life force and energy running through and animating the body, ensuring we can move, breathe, digest food, think and even feel.

Healing traditions all spoke of energy channels, meridians or Nadis.Healing traditions all spoke of energy channels, sen, meridians or nadis.

Energy channels

This vital life force or chi, is composed of two kinds of forces, yin and yang, and flows along a sophisticated network of energy pathways, or highways, circuiting the body. Over 2000 years ago ancient cultures knew of the existence of these energy channels. They were called ‘sen’ in Thailand, ‘nadis’ in India, ‘meridians’, ‘channels’ or ‘vessels’ in China and Japan, and ‘channels’ in Tibet. In India, where many eastern healing arts developed, there were said to be 72 000 nadis or energy pathways. Disease is believed to be a blockage in the energy flow of these channels. A range of healing traditions, including acupuncture, acupressure, massage and yoga, are founded on the principle of the existence of energy channels or pathways, known as meridians, or nadis, running around the body in an expansive network.

 

While it may seem a little airy fairy to some to consider the energy body while we have flesh and bone, at source we are an energy field, embedded into another energy field. Our bodies are electromagnetic in nature and science has measured these frequencies with advanced machines, like EKG’s and MRI scanning, for many years. Numerous studies demonstrate these energy pathways and points conduct electricity even when needles aren’t used. And the massage technique of Shiatsu have been found to stimulate the same energetic effects. Similarly, Qigong,Tai Chi and the postures of yoga, have been found to increase electrical conductance at acupoints, yet science never believed in the existence of meridians until now.

A range of healing traditions including acupuncture,are founded on the principle of the existence of energy channels or pathways.A range of healing traditions are founded on the principle of the meridians.

Scientific research

Recently scientists at Seoul National University confirmed the existence of meridians, which they refer to as the “primo-vascular system.” They say that this system is a crucial part of the cardiovascular system.

Previously, North Korean scientist Kim Bong-Han proposed that he had found meridians in the early 1960’s.  Dr Kim Bong-Han showed over 50 years ago that new tubular structures exist inside and outside of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels, as well as on the surface of internal organs and under the dermis. He believed they were the traditional meridian lines. The meridians were called Bonghan ducts or channels, after his research, but now the existence of this system in various organs has been corroborated by further research.

The current Korean researchers now believe the primo-vascular system is in fact the physical component of the Acupuncture Meridian System. And it has also been suggested that this system is involved in channelling the flow of energy and information relayed by biophotons (electromagnetic waves of light) and DNA.

DNAimageThere may be a link between the meridians and energy and information relayed by DNA.

The Korean scientists studying oriental medicine with biophysical methods injected a special staining dye which coloured the meridians. By injecting the dye onto acupuncture points, they were able to see thin lines. These did not show up at non-acupuncture point sites where there are no meridians. The researchers discovered that the meridian lines are not confined to the skin, but are in fact a concrete duct system through which liquid flows, and that this liquid aggregates to form stem cells.

Previously, scientists used a combination of imaging techniques and CT scans to observe concentrated points of microvascular structures that clearly correspond to the map of acupuncture points created by Chinese energy practitioners in ancient times. In a study published in the Journal of Electron Spectroscopy and Related Phenomena, researchers used contrast CT imaging with radiation on both non-acupuncture points and acupuncture points. The CT scans revealed clear distinctions between the non-acupuncture point and acupuncture point anatomical structures.

Scientists injected a special staining dye which coloured the meridiansScientists injected a special staining dye which coloured the meridians.

The meridian system

There are 12 primary paired meridians and two single mid meridians, six yang and six yin. The yang meridians run down the body and the yin meridians flow up the body. Each meridian is also related to an element. Each meridian is most active at a certain time of the day or night and each meridian is influenced by an element or season.

The nature of meridians, in their elemental structure, and as vessels for the life force, show the intricacy and profound connection of our body at a cellular level, to the universe. We are intimately connected by the elements, energetic structure and flow of energy, to all life, at a cellular, physical level. Our earth is also said to have energetic pathways or ley lines, akin to meridians.

The map of acupuncture points was created by Chinese healing practitioners nearly 2000 years agoThe map was created by Chinese healing practitioners nearly 2000 years ago.

How are meridians related to health?

Our bodies need balance. A balanced flow or energy, not too much or too little, is conducive to good health. This is the same in the way we live our lives. Balance is paramount. Just enough food, water and a healthy balanced lifestyle. As the Buddha said: “middle way” or moderation in all things.

We can see this harmony and balance in life, as the balance between the energies of yin and yang – or more simplistically, masculine and feminine – the two opposing and catalyzing energies of the universe.

In our bodies we need balance, not too much or too little.

Our health is vibrant if there is harmony and balance between these two forces in the body. If the balance is disturbed, and the flow of one of these forces becomes greater than the other then illness arises. These forces or energies flow through very definite channels in the body, or meridians, and these are the body’s healing energy pathways.

In traditional Indian medicine, the meridians are expanded upon.There are nadis found within the physical body and these nadis make up the nervous system, the circulatory system, the digestive system, the respiratory system, the lymphatic systems, etc. Any blockages in these nadis can result in physical health conditions. Nadis can also be found in the subtle body where they carry thoughts, feelings, and nerve impulses. When these nadis are blocked, we lose our ability to feel, and connect deeply with others, the environment and ourselves. In the same way that veins and arteries are important for the body to function, nadis weave through our physical nerves and the matrix of consciousness that circuits the mind and self, supporting our physical expression from the otherworldly dimensions of existence.

YinYangChi is made up of two kinds of forces, yin and yang.

When the flow of energy is blocked, it causes low energy and illness. Practices like yoga and meditation work on these subtle energy channels, supporting the flow of energy through the body. According to some ancient indian texts there are 350 000 nadis or energy pathways in the body. In traditional Indian medicine and spiritual science, the energies of the physical body, the subtle body and the causal body are said to flow through the nadis. Within this framework, the nadis are said to connect at special points of intensity called nadichakras.

The three most important nadis are those running along the spine: ida, pingala and sushumna. The Sushumna is the central channel of energy in the human body and it runs from the base of the spine to the crown of the head and carries kundalini energy, which is the primal evolutionary force. Kundalini is awakened through yoga and meditation and is said to lie dormant at the base of the spine. Activation of the kundalini leads to higher consciousness states. The aim of yoga is to broaden the sushumna and to unite the pathways. Purifying all three nadis leads to overall health, and wellness of body and mind, as well as spiritual growth. Various Pranayama techniques aid in helping to keep these nadi channels open.

The three most important nadis are those running along the spine: ida, pingala and sushunma.The three most important nadis are those running along the spine: ida, pingala and sushunma.

If you are sensitive to energy and have had energy treatments, such as acupuncture, you may have felt streams of energy or a flow of cold or heat, for example, up the legs or arms. This is a freeing up of energy in the meridians and the flow of energy that is released when a blockage is removed.

There are many wonderful healing modalities based on the meridian system that support radiant health. By enhancing the flow of energy through the body, balance and health is achieved and we come in touch with our true selves. Acupuncture is a therapeutic modality used in China as early as the late stone age. It was used to treat all ailments affecting people. Acupuncture did not enter modern Western consciousness until the 1970’s when China ended a period of isolation and resumed foreign political and cultural contacts.

The range of applications for acupuncture has grown slowly in the West, possibly because of the belief that it has no scientific basis.  Perhaps now with the scientific proof of meridians, acupuncture will become more widespread for all ailments, along with other great healing modalities based on the energetics of the body, supporting more people to have vibrant health and wellbeing.

 

 

Five Element Acupuncture - Treating the Body, Mind and Spirit

 Five element acupuncture is a truly beautiful art and a most satisfying form of treating the health of people. It is not only effective but it is very deep in meaning.

Five Element acupuncture as practiced in the West is a distillation of traditional concepts from Chinese medicine which emphasizes treating the whole person: body, mind and spirit. Many of the current practitioners of this healing art have been trained by J.R. Worsley, who has captured the essence of this remarkable system and brilliantly applied it to the dilemmas and challenges of modern life.

The Five Element acupuncture system, is over 2000 years old yet in many ways is more applicable today than ever before. Five Element acupuncture brings a vision and understanding of how to assess and treat the roots of illness, whether on a body, mind or spirit level. In today’s culture, with its emphasis on striving for material wealth, as well as the overwhelming mental stimulation, there is little to nurture the spirit. This has led to the clinical finding that many individuals today have the origin of their health problems on the spirit level.

The Tao Te Ching discusses protecting the spirit through the state of desirelessness (wu wei). (1) The knowledge that addressing the spirit is critical is also found in the earliest writings in Chinese medicine, the Nei Ching Su Wen "the first method of acupuncture is to cure the spirit, the second was to give knowledge of how to restore the body. In order to make acupuncture effective one must first cure the spirit. (2) The gift of Five Element acupuncture is to make available the wisdom and understanding of these classical concepts of acupuncture for the challenges of life at the brink of the new millennium.

 

THE FIVE ELEMENTS

 

The goal of Five Element acupuncture is to enhance personal alignment with the Laws of Nature. When living in accordance with these Laws, the health of the body, mind and spirit is supported. These Laws include the concepts of Qi, Yinyang and the Five Elements, the three key components of traditional Chinese philosophy . Qi is described as the vital life force which animates all living things. In the Five Element system, Qi is defined as Energy which is conducted through the body in the meridian pathways which supplies the organs and the body, mind and spirit. When the Qi is balanced a person remains well, when imbalanced illness can occur.

The Yinyang concepts originated in the fourth century B.C. and explained natural phenomena as the "ceaseless rise and fall of opposite yet complimentary forces" (3). Yin and Yang are strictly translated as the shady side of a hill (yin) and the sunny side of a hill(yang). The Yin qualities of cold, interior, dark, stillness and potential and the Yang qualities of light, heat, exterior, rising and activity exist in relation to each other. Yin and Yang are continuously interacting and are interdependent and transformative of each other. A dynamic balance of Yin and Yang is characterized by health, an imbalance by disease.

The characterization of phenomena into two aspects of correspondences (Yinyang) was further expanded in the Five Element system. The Five Elements represents the universal consistency of systematic links. (4) The Laws of Nature direct all movement within these Five Elements. Nature and man are the macrocosm and the microcosm of these Laws. These Laws organize the movement of Qi within the individual and provide the structure for diagnosis and treatment in the Five Element system.

In the time of the Han dynasty (200 B.C.), living in harmony with nature as a way of maintaining health was an obvious need. If the cycles of the season and climactic conditions were ignored, famine and illness certainly would follow in the agrarian society of China. The Nei Ching discusses the relationship of the natural laws as follows, The interaction of the Five Elements brings harmony and everything is in order. At the end of one year the sun has completed its course and everything starts anew with the first season, which is the beginning of Spring. This system is comparable to a ring which has neither beginning nor end. (5)

In Chinese philosophy the natural laws that organize the cycles of change in nature, such as the seasons, are the same laws that organize human experience. Paramount among these laws is the Law of Five Elements (Wu-Hsing). The Five Elements divides human experience into five distinct groupings. These Elements act as maps that reflect all levels of human function, including, but not limited to, the anatomic and physiologic functioning of the organ systems. The levels of function range from biochemical processes to the function of the person as a whole ranging from behavior, psychological state, emotions, spiritual state and intellect to relationships and career. The Five Elements include Wood (liver and gall bladder), Fire (heart, small intestine, triple heater, pericardium), Earth (spleen, stomach), Metal (lung, colon) and Water (kidney, bladder). Using the Five Element ëmap,’ dysfunction occurring on any of these levels can be placed in the appropriate context.

The Nei Ching states "A person is not sick because of a disease, they are diseased because they are sick." (6) When the vital energy (Qi) is balanced in body mind and spirit, there is resistance to disease and an ability to adapt to the ever changing demands and challenges of modern life. The ability to be flexible in mental functions such as beliefs, emotions and attitudes, as well as being adaptable in our biochemistry and immunology, brings a higher level of well being.

Five Element theory has been part of Chinese Medicine from the 10th century B.C. These concepts first appeared in several books on philosophy such as the Shu Ching, the Li Chi and the Guan Dzu. (7) The first medical writings on the Five Elements were found in the Nei Ching Su Wen written around 200 B.C. Further discussion was found in the Nei Ching Ling Shu and the Nan Ching. The Five Element concepts are part of not only medical theory, but are an integral aspect of all ancient Chinese cosmology and philosophy. (8) The principles of the Five Elements were used in aspects of society ranging from agriculture to affairs of state. (To understand the history of Five Element acupuncture in the West, I refer the reader to the excellent book, In the Footsteps of the Yellow Emperor by Peter Eckman.) (9)

To impart an understanding of body, mind and spirit was part of the Taoist physician’s approach in utilizing the wisdom of the Five Elements and Tao. Living a life of balance and harmony within oneself and in the society was the mark of living with Tao. The goal of the physician was to assist patients in treating illness and to educate them in the ways in which they were not following the Tao. Herbs and medicines were frowned upon because they hindered the understanding of the true reason a person got ill. "The concept of acupuncture differed from that of drug application in that it constantly reinforced the system of correspondences, providing stimuli only when man had not been able, owing to his own negligence or external conditions, to balance his existence in the proper way." (10)

 

FIVE ELEMENTS AND THE CYCLE OF LIFE

 


The clinical application of the Five Elements is based on the system of correspondences. The correspondences include seasons and climactic conditions, as well as correspondences within the person. (Figure 1)

 

 

Each Element has correspondences, including organ systems, sensory organs, tastes in food, color, emotional state, physical and emotional symptoms, disease tendencies and a general orientation toward life. (Figure 2)

 

 

Selected positive qualities corresponding to each Element are illustrated in Figure 3.

 

 

The correspondences are used to organize the diagnosis which incorporates the history and physical findings to identify a root or causative factor. The causative factor is the Element that, under internal or external stress, becomes imbalanced and initiates a state of dis-ease. (11)

To understand what these Elements represent in man it is helpful to see each Element in relation to its seasonal correspondence. The Wood Element corresponds to Spring, which is a time of new growth, increasing activity and longer days. In the individual, Wood corresponds to having a vision of the future, having the ability to organize, plan and initiate action, and to express emotions, including anger, in a healthy manner. Wood includes the function of the biliary tract, liver, ocular system and musculoskeletal system. When not in balance, the Wood Element correspondences include difficulty in making decisions, high levels of frustration, excessive need for control, inappropriate anger, difficulty relaxing, anxiety, chronic muscular problems such as fibromyalgia, headaches (including migraine) and visual problems.

The Fire Element corresponds to Summer. This is the time of greatest warmth and light, the longest days, the greatest activity and luxuriant growth. In the individual Fire correspondences include the ability to establish relationships, express love and sexuality, expansiveness, enthusiasm, passion, playfulness, joyfulness, warmth and relaxation. The organ systems include the heart, small intestine, pericardium, and sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. When the Fire Element is not in balance there is a lack of joy and warmth, difficulty in intimate relationships, depression, confusion and doubt, low energy, digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia, cardiac disease and tinnitus.

The season for the Earth Element is Late Summer. This is harvest time when food is plentiful and the warmth and golden light of the Late Summer days create a sense of relaxation and contentment. The organ systems of Earth are the stomach, spleen, pancreas and all digestive processes. In the individual, Earth corresponds to nourishment, contentment, harvesting what is needed for self and others, stability, security, empathy and caring. Earth corresponds to the biological mother, as well Mother Earth. When the Earth Element is not in balance we see a person who can be obsessive, self centered, opinionated, insecure and uncaring. The physical symptoms include eating disorders, upper and lower gastrointestinal disease including peptic ulcer disease and inflammatory bowel disease, sinusitis, frontal headaches and all gynecological disorders.

The season of the Metal Element is Autumn. This is a time of decreasing light, increasing cold and shorter days. Trees lose their leaves as they withdraw their energy internally. In the individual, the Metal Element represents internal resolve and strength, self worth, self esteem, vitality and endurance, as well as the ability to let go of emotional upsets and grudges. The organ systems are the lung, skin and colon. Metal represents the biological and spiritual Father. When the Metal Element is out of balance there can be depression and sadness, an inability to recover from loss, lack of inspiration, rigidity, poor self esteem, excessive materialism and emotional withdrawal. The physical symptoms include asthma, rhinitis, eczema and other skin disorders, constipation and lower bowel disorders.

The Water Element is correlated with Winter. This is the darkest and coldest time of the year, when activity in the plant kingdom occurs only deep in the roots. In the individual, the Water Element represents energetic reserves, the will to survive, courage, our ability to procreate, movement and flow, self actualization, willpower, trust and faith. The organ systems are the bladder, kidney, bones and endocrine system. When out of balance, the Water Element corresponds to fear and a struggle for survival, a lack of reserves and deep fatigue, reduced sexuality, timidity and a lack of trust in life and in other people. The physical symptoms include fatigue and exhaustion, all disorders of the urinary tract, infertility, hypertension, all endocrine disorders, lumbar syndromes, ankylosing spondylitis and dental pathology.

 

OFFICIALS, FUNCTIONS AND LAWS

 


In Five Element acupuncture the function of the organs and meridians are described by the term Officials. Porkert (12) describes the Official (Orbs) as "defined not by physical properties, but by its specific roles in the processing, storage and distribution of vital energy and thus the maintenance of life." In the case of the Wood Element, the two Officials are the "Official of Decision Making and Wise Judgment" (the Gall Bladder) and the "Controller of Planning" (the Liver).

The Gall Bladder is "responsible for what is exact and just." Determination and decision stem from it. The Liver "holds the office of general... assessment of circumstances and conception of plans stems from it."(13) When these officials are poorly functioning, the effect might be indecisiveness, lack of initiative, anger and frustration, or hypochondria with constantly changing symptoms. Decisions relating to career or relationships might be repeatedly flawed and lead to stress and agitation. The ability to make appropriate plans is affected and disturbance in the 'blueprint' for functioning on a cellular level (i.e. diabetes), or a global level (i.e. drug addiction) might be the outcome. This might be more significant than the physical manifestation such as headaches, dizziness, myalgias, chest pain, or eye disorders which are often attributed to Gall Bladder and Liver.

The Officials give us the ability to use a ëwide angle lens’ to look at the life style that a person has created as a reflection of the functioning of the Elements. Understanding the behavioral manifestation of the Official often provides insight into the dynamics behind chronic illness. In the Wood Element, repeatedly making decisions which undermine an individual’s well being reflects poor functioning of this Official. This information is critical in Five Element diagnosis. Figure 4 has a list of the Officials and the corresponding Element and organ. (14)

Understanding the functioning of the Officials and Elements and the acupuncture laws provides the organization of symptoms and signs needed to provide effective treatment. The laws which govern the movement of energy within the person are reflective of the physical laws of nature. The Law of Five Elements (Wu-Hsing) (Figure 1) describes the Elements as energetic capacities that create transformation and change, observable in Nature as well as in the person. There is a set relationship between these Elements which is repeatable and observable in nature. The movement through these Elements reflects the nature of human experience from birth to death.

The energy of the Five Elements move through a creative cycle and a controlling cycle. (Figure 6) The creative cycle (also called engendering, productive, Sheng) is best understood using the macrocosmic Images of the Elements. The Sheng cycle can be seen in this traditional description: Water produces plants/trees, that is Wood; Wood brings forth Fire; Fire produces ashes, that is soil (Earth); soil brings forth Metal; when heated Metals produce steam, that is Water. The controlling cycle (Ke) is illustrated as follows: Water overcomes fire through inhibition; Fire activates Metal; Metal structures Wood; Wood penetrates Earth; Earth absorbs water.

These two sequences form the basis for health and when not in balance provides the understanding of the development of disease. A clinical example is a patient who has a history of low back pain with sciatica who has not responded to acupuncture or other treatments directed at the back pain itself. Her history revealed that she had eczema and asthma as a child and the onset of the back pain occurred after a series of deaths in her family from which she has never recovered emotionally. She also had a history of depression as a child as well as a critical and demanding father.

The Elements involved in this case are initially the Metal (asthma, eczema, depression, abnormal grieving and her relationship with her father are all correspondences for Metal) and then Water (low back pain and sciatica). The Sheng cycle movement of energy from the Metal to the Water describes the chronology of events and dictates that treatment address the Metal for the Water symptoms to improve. This is described as the Law of Mother Child, where the preceding Element (Mother) when imbalanced, will not provide the normal energetic support (Sheng cycle) to maintain the health of the following Element (Child) and symptoms will occur in both the Mother and Child Elements.

 

BODY MIND AND SPIRIT

 

A major emphasis of Five Element acupuncture as currently practiced is on the concept of spirit and the assessment of the person from a body, mind and spirit orientation. In Chinese philosophy there is no separation of body, mind and spirit. Life is the organization of the vital life force Qi, manifesting in body, mind and spirit through the Laws of Five Elements. Death is the dispersion of this organization.

Spirit in this context is the inner sense of aliveness that gives us our purpose and direction in life. In a person with a strong spirit there is vibrancy and strength reflected in the eyes. A healthy spirit brings ease to the individual, allows you to deeply connect with them, and brings them into alignment with their will and higher purpose.

A further understanding of the concept of spirit is through the Law of Five Elements. The manifestation of spirit in the Fire Element (Heart) is shen, which is considered a fundamental substance of the body and is the basis of consciousness, joy, aliveness and happiness. The Earth Element is Yi, which is translated as memories and nourishment and provides understanding, empathy and concern for self and others. The Metal Element is P’o, the ëCorporeal soul," which provides the instincts to know the truth and live in the material world. The Water Element is Zhi, self actualization and manifestation. Wood Element is Hun or transformation and the ëHeavenly soul.’

Spirit level problems do not always manifest as major medical disease, but can also be seen in people with minor physical ailments. Individuals with spirit level problems find it difficult to make significant changes and often do not respond to intervention with long lasting improvement. They appear to lack purpose, joy, enthusiasm, commitment and direction, feel unfulfilled, empty inside themselves and seem to be constantly desiring or striving.

As Worsley points out illness is often not isolated to one level: "If the body is sick, the mind worries and the spirit grieves; if the mind is sick, the body and spirit will suffer from its confusion; if the spirit is sick, there will be no will to care for the body or mind." (15) The ability to directly effect the whole person, body mind and spirit, is one of the greatest gifts of this system of healing.

 


 

ASSESSING THE WHOLE PERSON: CORRESPONDENCES AND DIAGNOSIS


The correspondences allows an organization of essentially all symptoms as well as emotional and behavioral styles. One of the advantages of the Five Element system is that the language used to describe and classify information is familiar. In Five Element diagnosis the establishment of rapport with the patient is critical in allowing a clearer vision of the underlying Elements. The traditional diagnosis calls for the examiner to be an active participant in the experience. This involves testing the five emotions, voice qualities, odors and colors in an interactive way. Through this deep connection with the patient, the practitioner can access the key diagnostic aspects of the examination and act as a guide and teacher as well. (16) Another important part of the examination is the traditional pulse diagnosis with emphasis on the individuation of the Twelve Officials.

When an imbalance occurs in a significant way within an Element and Official, the history will often reflect this in a chronological order. Illness occurs when the Officials are unable to overcome either internal (excess emotions), external (injuries, surgery, climactic conditions) or inherited perverse energies. The events or experiences that initiate the imbalance in an Element often occur at an early age and can be related to early childhood experiences or traumas. The disease process is often triggered later in life by an inability to adapt to additional challenges and stress.

What appears to a physician as the "onset of the present illness" is often the culmination of a long sequence of energetic disturbances in the Officials and the Elements. The laws of acupuncture will determine what the configuration of the patient’s symptoms will be. These laws include: Creation (Sheng cycle), Control (Ke cycle), Midday-Midnight and Mother-Child. The most important of these laws are the Sheng and Ke cycles (see Figure 6). In the example of the Wood Element an imbalance could create symptoms in Wood, Fire (Sheng cycle) and Earth (Ke cycle) through the abnormal movement of qi through these different cycles. The correspondences of these Elements will clarify the specific sequence of events.

 

TREATMENT IN FIVE ELEMENTS: ENGAGING THE ESSENCE



When Five Element acupuncture treatments are effective the changes seen embrace the body mind and spirit of the person.

The treatment is organized by the diagnosis of which Element and Officials are the root factors, the level of illness and the relative excess or deficiency of energy noted on pulse diagnosis. The recognition of major ëblocks’ in the balance of the energy is critical for effective treatment as well. These blocks include aggressive energy (perverse qi), husband wife imbalance (yin-yang imbalance), possession (losing control of one’s spirit from either disease or perverse outside influences) and entry exit.

The goal of treatment in Five Element acupuncture is to reach the level of the constitutional imbalance or causative factor and not focus on treating a symptom or syndrome. The symptoms are interpreted as signs of an imbalance in an Official and, if not corrected, will lead to chronic problems. Treatment aimed to clear present symptoms will mask the underlying effect on the causative factor and delay deeper healing effects.


The organization of the treatment course in Five Element acupuncture is to first clear ëperverse qi’ (Xie Qi) (Aggressive Energy, Possession and Husband-Wife) if present and then balance deficiency or excess of normal qi through the use of transfers of energy. The transfer of energy from one Element and Official to a deficient Element is organized through the Sheng and Ke cycle relationships. (Figure 5)

 

 

The effects of the points chosen are related to their Element function and include Tonification and Sedation points, Junction (luo) points, Alarm (mo) points, Associated Effect (back shu) points and Entry and Exit points. The way these points are used in the normalization of qi is unique to Five Element acupuncture.



  Dry Needling- What is this?

 

There are a growing number of health care practitioners who see the benefit of acupuncture and wish to incorporate many aspects of its therpay into their treatment modality however they don't want to spend the years learning the Chinese philosophy and healing models that have developed around this over thousands of years. For example there may be a Chiropractor or a Physiotherapist. Who have seen the benefits of acupuncture and also they as well trained professionals know well the anatomy. They don't want to go into the deep healing aspects of acupuncture applied to help the body heal of a wide range of maladies. They more want to use the needle in a tight muscle to gain a deep muscle release technique that is otherwise hard to gain by just pressure and other therapy. So this style of acupuncture is very beneficial. IN fact in Chinese Acupuncture theory all points on the body that create some tenderness are called Ashi points. They may not be on a main meridian but they are still important points. 
IN the past these practitioners have done "acupuncture" courses that more focused on the musculoskeletal component of their therapy. However totally leaving out the healing philosophies and indeed even a knowledge of the acupuncture meridians that the whole treatment method developed with. However in the past these practitioners still said to their patients that they were doing acupuncture. Which is strictly true because it is using an acupuncture needle and they were puncturing or piercing the body.

However now in Australia and many other countries Acupuncture is a registered and regulated health profession with standards of education in that art. So that means that not any body can say they are an acupuncturist nor that they are doing acupuncture. HOWEVER they can say that they are doing needling or "dry needling".  This title is not protected from being used by people who are not well trained in the acupuncture healing arts.  Now these practitioners ARE well trained. Just not in acupuncture healing. They can apply acupuncture needles in dry needling to adjunct their treatments. By doing so they often inadvertently do benefit the human health beyond just the musculoskeletal level. Because they truly are stimulating ashi points or perhaps even main acupuncture meridian points. However their therapy is sophisticated form a manual therapy perspective but not sophisticated from a healing art traditional acupuncture perspective. So now with the advent of the title acupuncture being protected they are not allowed to call themselves acupuncturist nor that they do acupuncture the way they have done so in the past. So what they do is they do courses in dry needling. However some of them - because they do not know the benefits of the holistic system of acupuncture start to say that dry needling is better than acupuncture because they personally do not adhere to the principles of healing of the acupuncture that has developed over thousands of years. Most likely what is happening is that they cannot claim to be using that system and so they want what they do to appear better. So they deny the philosophies of this ancient and modern healing.
So is dry needling good- It sure is and yes it is a wonderful adjunct to many treatment forms such as Chiropractic and Physiotherapy or massage. However due respect needs to be given and also acknowledgment of where this dry needling really came from. It came out of acupuncture. IN fact the dry needling people still use acupuncture needles. They have that name on their needles. It is not a separate healing art that was derived separately from acupuncture but it directly came out of acupuncture it was born out of acupuncture. Thus it needs to be given the respect it deservs including the principles of the parent discipline.
Giving acupuncture though that both treats at a musculoskeletal level BUT ALSO consciously treats at a level that benefits the patient by helping their system according to acupuncture healing Is very very much a great art and truly beneficial.