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Getting the Point with Acupuncture

By Carlos M Viana, Oriental Medicine, TCM (China)

            Imagine going to the hospital and there are no antibiotics, pain medicines, no hormones, or tranquilizers. Without their chemical drugs what can allopathic doctors do for you? Do not misinterpret what I am getting at; in response to a life threatening emergency pharmaceuticals have their place. Viewing our bodies as bags of biochemicals, allopathic doctors use pharmaceutical drugs to try to change your body’s chemical values. We ‘energy/frequency’ physicians view you as a “being of light” and we have a plethora of different possibilities.

            As an Oriental Medical Doctor one of my treatment choices is to puncture specific points on your skin with very thin, sterile needles, this is called acupuncture. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical practice that is effective against a wide variety of ailments. The treatment developed over 4,000 years ago reflects the theory that conditions that cause disease interrupt energy flow in the body and insertion of needles used at specific points will reestablish healthy energy flow. With a healthy energy flow reestablished the body can balance itself, regaining health.

            Western medical “experts” have been skeptical of acupuncture’s therapeutic value for the treatment of pain and other conditions. One reason is that most think it is unlikely that the simple act of inserting fine needles into tissue could elicit any positive effect, let alone wide-ranging and long-lasting therapeutic effects. Acupuncture needles are of a much finer gauge, or thickness than even the finest hypodermic needles. Acupuncture rarely results in a single drop of blood being discharged.

            Acupuncture is becoming more widespread in the West. In fact, for the last several years many more people in the States have consulted energy physicians than conventional doctors. In response the American Medical Association recommended that their member either buy an existing complimentary practice or attend a weekend “acupuncture certification” course to keep up their office’s cash flow. Recent numbers show that there are currently almost 40,000 licensed acupuncturists in the United States.

            Acupuncture uses various procedures, such as heat and pressure but mainly fine sterile needles, to stimulate points on the body to relieve pain or move energy. The key to acupuncture’s bio-mechanical effect is not just the insertion of each ultra-fine needle, but its manipulation and the specific point on the body chosen. Many new clients who have had acupuncture treatments in the States or Europe are very surprised at how much more they feel from my acupuncture technique sharpened in the People’s Republic of China.

            What I learned at Long Hau Hospital in Shanghai is that during an acupuncture session, each acupuncture needle should be manipulated in order to bring out the “deqi” response. Deqi is essential in achieving acupuncture’s full therapeutic effect. A phenomenon called “needle grasp” is a component of deqi that is often described by acupuncturists as feeling like a fish tugging on a fishing line. To me it feels like your body saying “yes, yes, I need this” and drawing the needle in.  When this occurs, clients typically experience an aching sensation, heaviness, or electricity flowing through their arm or leg.

            During your treatment that usually lasts twenty minutes most people experience a deep sense of relaxation, in part because of the endorphins that are released during acupuncture. Depending on whether your pain is acute or chronic guides the number of treatments and needles you may need. Your pain may be resolved in a few treatments or it may take several courses, in some cases acupuncture serves primarily as pain management. In any case, your whole body benefits from its affects.

            Our, open-air, tropical clinic boasts of having no air-conditioning (al-fresco). The benefits of Fresh-air have been greatly noted for the health benefits lately.  The smell of moxa herb burning on the handles of inserted acupuncture needles floats to mingle in our orchid garden with the singing if birds. Under the needles back pain, neck stiffness and stress start melting away.

            Reviewing the studies on acupuncture it is hard to find a condition that is not alleviated by acupuncture treatments. Acupuncture can treat Fibromyalgia naturally; it can be an effective form of treatment for people who suffer from migraine headaches. Arthritic joints really do get worse depending upon the weather, and traditional Chinese acupuncture can be an effective treatment for the condition.

            Other conditions ameliorated by acupuncture include treating yeast problems. Acupuncture is extremely beneficial when treating Candidacies as it can strengthen the spleen and kidneys and disperse the Spleen Dampness and Liver Heat. There are several advantages to using Traditional Chinese Medicine as an approach to heightening a couple’s fertility. Irritability, depression, frustration are keywords to the Liver Chi Stagnation. Physical symptoms of irregular periods, PMS, dark colored menstrual blood with small clots, breast pain with distention – all can be eased.

            Get the Point! Acupuncture is safe, if practiced by trained acupuncturists. A consensus panel convened by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) concluded there is clear evidence that needle acupuncture treatment is effective for many medical and painful conditions. I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to consider making an appointment to include Chinese medicine as you journey towards a more pain-free and healthier life.

This article is for educational purposes only. This article appeared in Aruba Today and Bon Dia.

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