ACUPUNCTURE

Acupuncture has been practised in China for thousands of years. Acupuncture only became popular in Western countries in the 1970s.

Acupuncture Practitioners insert fine, sterile needles into specific points of the body as a treatment for various disorders. These days acupuncture is widely accepted all over the world and is practised by many Doctors.

Some acupuncture needles dating back 3,000 years have been found in Inner Mongolia. In the 17th century Doctors and missionaries brought acupuncture to Europe.

Many western Doctors have studied acupuncture and now use this practise to supplement conventional treatment in hospitals and clinics. The use of in anaesthesia is mainly confined to China.

Acupuncture is in fact an element within the traditional Chinese medicine health system. A large amount of scientific evidence now exists to support the use of acupuncture.

Some of the most convincing research into was published in the "Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine" in 1988 by Professor John Dundee of Queens University. In 1989 the "Lancet" reported that patients with alcohol addiction responded well to acupuncture.

The World Health Organization has found over forty conditions treatable by acupuncture. In 1992 a Spanish study showed radioactive tracers injected at acupoints seemed to travel along similar pathways to meridians.

This has lead to theories of a system of information transmission linked to neurochemicals. Some Doctors believe acupuncture may work by releasing pain killing endorphins.

When you first consult an acupuncture practitioner they will take notes on your lifestyle and medical history. They will assess your condition using the Four Examinations of acupuncture.

This is asking, observing, listening and touching. The most important test is taking the pulse which is a skilled method of checking the rhythm and strength of all twelve meridian pulses.

There are 28 descriptions to categorize the state of each pulse. You will lie on a table and remove any clothes covering needle sites.

The site of the needle depends on the disorder and whether the flow of "qi" is to be warmed, reduced or increased. Up to several acupoints may be used.

The acupuncture practitioner usually inserts the needles to a depth of 4-25mm. Some acupuncture practitioners may insert them to a deeper level.

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The treatment often involves a number of acupoints. The number of needles may range from six to twelve.

The acupuncture needles may be left in position as little as a few seconds, minutes or up to an hour. The acupuncture needles are withdrawn painlessly and leave no trace on the skin.

For some conditions the acupuncture practitioner burns the herb Moxa creating heat to stimulate the acupoints. Glass cups may also be placed over acupoints in order to draw "qi" and blood toward them.

When having acupuncture only consult a qualified practitioner. It is advisable that your acupuncture practitioner uses disposable needles.

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