History of Acupuncture
The practice of acupuncture dates back 2,000 years, and can arguably be traced back 4,000 to the earliest practices in China. That being said, acupuncture is certainly not new, nor is it very radical, there is simply a lack of awareness in Western culture to the healing powers and proven scientific research on its effectiveness.
Some main concepts of acupuncture
Balance, Yin and Yang
The entire practice of acupuncture is built upon balance. Many of us have heard of and seen the symbol for yin and yang – but the significance is far deeper than pop culture illustrates. It is based upon nature, the day that follows every night which is the balance of activity and rest. Disturbing a component of that relationship is disease.
Yin and yang each contain a small part of the opposite, represented by the small circle of contrast. Good health is built upon maintaining this principle of balance. For example, when an athlete injures his left knee, he may begin to change his gait to avoid pain. Walking or running differently puts pressure on new places and may cause pain in other joints or ligaments that are reacting to that change. The body is out of balance as a result of the pain and can lead to greater injury.
Qi and Meridians
With proper balance comes proper circulation of the life source called, qi (“che-e”) which travels through 14 different channels called meridians. When the flow is interrupted, the yin and yang are out of balance which is basically the definition of illness.
The skilled and proper practice of acupuncture involves inserting the needles such that the channels can become clear. There are 365 acupuncture points that have specific acupuncture functions and affect the pathways. The needles either serve to bring the energy (qi) inward or draw it away from the body.
Diagnosing involves skilled observation of the body via the senses. The practitioner must view and understand the patient’s body prior to beginning the treatment. With acupuncture, there are several pulses to take that give the practitioner insight into the internal health and inner workings of the body. This differs from the traditional Western practice of taking the pulse of the heart only.
This is a highly skilled art that can take up to fifteen years to master. Faith Meltzer has mastered this ability and uses it with patients before treating them. By taking the pulse of the other organs, Faith is able to get as much information on internal health as possible from external observation. Again, other practitioners may not be utilizing this method – this speaks to the extensiveness and authenticity of Faith’s training.
Integration with Western Medicine
As the early dynasties endured change, medicine evolved greatly – particularly during the Han dynasty. There was a great period of growth in Chinese culture as well as the publication of influential medical scripts. These major theories and understanding of systematic correspondence shaped the beginnings of this ancient approach to health. Thousands of years later, Western cultures are beginning to fully understand and experience the effectiveness of acupuncture. With more doctors recommending acupuncture as part of a comprehensive healthcare plan, patients are taking advantage of real results without having to deal with down time or invasive treatments.
Additionally, herbal and natural supplements may be suggested to accompany a treatment plan. As our culture continues to become more educated and aware of the drugs they take and the foods they eat, many patients look to Eastern medicine as a toxin free alternative to caring for their health.