An ancient Oriental system and medical technique that involves inserting and stimulating particular points on the skin with fine needles. It is one of the main forms of treatment in traditional Chinese medicine.
There are more than 360 acupuncture points in the human body. The needles may be twirled, heated, stimulated with weak electrical current, ultrasound and sometimes even wavelengths of light. It is used in the treatment of pain, depression, allergies, asthma, arthritis, bladder and kidney problems, constipation, diarrhea, colds, flu, bronchitis, dizziness, smoking, fatigue, gynecologic disorders, headaches, migraines, paralysis, high blood pressure, PMS, sciatica, sexual dysfunction, stress, stroke, tendinitis, drug addiction, vision problems, and even AIDS.
Acupuncture needles dating from more than 4000 years ago have been found in China. The first needles were stone; later, bronze, gold, or silver were used, and today needles are usually made of steel. Initially, needles were used only to prick boils and ulcers.
Acupuncture was developed in response to the theory that there are special meridian points on the body connected to the internal organs and that vital energy flows along the meridian lines. According to this theory, diseases are caused by interrupted energy flow, and inserting and twirling needles restores normal flow.
Before the 1970s only a few Western physicians who had been to China were fascinated and intrigued by acupuncture. But when Richard Nixon became the first U.S. president to visit China, this all changed. American journalists covering the president's trip were astonished to observe major operations being performed on patients without any use of anesthetics. In fact, wide-awake patients were being operated on with only acupuncture needles inserted into them to control pain.
Today acupuncture is being practiced by more than 10,000 practitioners in every state of the Union, and millions of Americans have used it as a therapy. Unfortunately it is mainly unsupported by the traditional medical institutions and establishment, and many still think of it as a pseudoscience.
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