Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Information Regarding Acupuncture & Moxibustion

Though relatively new to the West, Acupuncture and Moxibustion is a highly developed medical science in China, which is the important component of traditional Chinese medicine, and a summary of experience of ordinary Chinese people in the struggle against disease over thousands of years. As the valuable contributions to medicine, acupuncture and moxibustion is the focus of people's attention from all parts of the world. These techniques are characterized by their amazingly rapid attainment of the desired results, their wide indications, simple equipment, and easy manipulation. They have therefore been widely accepted by the general population. According to incomplete statistics analysis, more than 120 countries and regions across the world have their own acupuncture and moxibustion doctors. A great upsurge in the application and study of acupuncture and moxibustion is now in the ascendant all over the world. Acupuncture and moxibustion have become an essential component of world medicine, providing a great service for human health and playing an increasingly important role in the world. They will become one of the methods for the effective prevention and treatment of disease in support of “health and care for all by the year 2000?statement put forward by the World Health Organization of the United Nations. Even so, a lot of people are still not familiar with acupuncture and moxibustion. They may have question, even doubt or negation. Therefore, I am going to introduce some popular knowledge regarding acupuncture and moxibustion, and hope that it will help all of you to understand further these therapies and their benefits.
Question: What is acupuncture?
Answer: The term acupuncture is derived from the Latin words acus, which means needle, and punctura, which means to puncture. “acu?plus “puncture?is acupuncture, which means needling.
Question: What is acupuncture therapy?
Answer: The acupuncture therapy is a therapeutic method which prevents or treats diseases by applying needles to stimulate certain superficial parts of body.
Question: What is moxibustion?
Answer: Moxibustion means the use of a moxa as a cautery by igniting it on the skin. Moxa: 1. a soft woolly mass prepared from the young leaves of various wormwoods of eastern Asia and applied esp. in Chinese and Japanese popular medicine as a cautery by being ignited on the skin. 2. any of various substances applied and ignited like moxa as a counterirritant.
Question: What is moxibustion therapy?
Answer: The moxibustion therapy is a therapeutic method which applies heat produced by ignited moxa wool or roll over the skin surface to stimulate certain points of body for the prevention or treatment of disease.
Question: Why do we often call acu-moxibustion?
Answer: Acupuncture and moxibustion are general names for acupuncture therapy and moxibustion therapy. The two therapies are commonly applied in combination. They have same therapeutic theory and use same stimulating points, though the equipment and materials used in the two methods are different. Therefore, together they are called acu-moxibustion, zhen jiu in Chinese, which literally means needling-moxibustion. For convenience of calling, the acupuncture and moxibustion are often definited as acupuncture.
Question: What is a broad sense and narrow sense of acupuncture and moxibustion?
Answer: Acupuncture and moxibustion in a broad sense include many techniques for stimulating points on the body using various physical or chemical methods, the application of various needles or stimulating instruments, and needling on various part of body according to T.C.M. theory. Of the needling methods, the filiform needle is the most common. In the narrow sense, however, acupuncture and moxibustion refers mainly to body-needling-moxibustion.
Question: What is basis of scientific definition of acupuncture and moxibustion?
Answer: Acupuncture and moxibustion is a summary of experience by ordinary Chinese people in the struggle against disease over thousands of years, which is important components of traditional Chinese medicine. Nowadays, acupuncture and moxibustion is a highly developed medical science in China. Following the modern science development in the world, acupuncture and moxibustion have rapidly established their own modern science system in China as well as in the world. Based on the clinic practice and experimental research, they have been greatly developed and have their own systematic theories, independent practice, systematic education, broad scientific researches, specific books and magazines, independent academic organizations and scientific meetings, numerous varied specific teams and specialists or experts, etc. Therefore, they are not only stayed on therapy or therapeutic method stage, but also are independent scientific discipline, which is called science of acupuncture and moxibustion. For the sake of shortness and standardization, the term has been suggested as acupunctology?(i.e., acupuncture plus -ology).
Question: What is the contents of acupunctology?
Answer: Acupunctology belongs to a branch of traditional Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine has very extensive, substantial contents. It can be divided into three parts: the pre-clinical medicine of T.C.M., the clinical medicine of T.C.M., the branch discipline of T.C.M. The preclinical medicine of T.C.M. includes the basic theory of T.C.M., diagnostics of T.C.M., the science of traditional Chinese materia medica, the prescriptions of T.C.M., history of T.C.M., the classics of T.C.M., the doctrines of various historical schools of T.C.M., synopsis of the golden chamber, treatise on exogenous febrile diseases, science of seasonal febrile diseases of T.C.M.
The basic theory of T.C.M. includes: the theory of yin and yang, the theory of five elements, the theory of viscera and bowels, the theory of the meridians and collaterals, the theory of Jing (vital essence), Qi (vital energy), Shen (mentality), blood and body fluid, the theory of pathogenic factor and pathogenesis, the theory of determination of treatment based on the differentiation of symptoms and signs, the theory of preventing or treating the disease before its development, etc.
The clinical medicine of T.C.M. includes internal medicine, gynecology, pediatrics, traumatology , orthopedics, ophthalmology, ofotorhinolaryngology, hemorrhoid and anal fistula, etc.
The branch discipline of T.C.M. includes acupunctology, science of massage, psychology, preservation and rehabilitation, medicated diet, science of Chinese qigong, medical gymnastics, science of documents, science of preparing of Chinese materia medica, etc.
The contents of acupunctology include three aspects:
a. the basic theories of acupuncture and moxibustion: because acupunctology is a branch of T.C.M., the basic theories of acupuncture and moxibustion are same as basic theories of T.C.M. mentioned above.
b. the techniques of acupuncture and moxibustion: acupuncture and moxibustion in a broad sense includes many techniques such as stimulation of points with various physical or chemical methods, or application of various needles or stimulating instrument, or needling on various part of the body according to different T.C.M .theories.
c. the treatment of acupuncture and moxibustion: It includes the general principles and methods of treatment, basic principles for prescription and selection of points. It also includes applying basic theory of acupuncture and moxibustion to differentiate, analyze and diagnose diseases or disorders of the body, and treat them with the therapies of acupuncture and moxibustion. With the development of the acupunctology, many secondary branches have been derived from this general acupunctology, such as medical history of acupunctology, doctrines of various historical schools in acupunctology, literature of acupunctology, sciences of meridians and collaterals, science of acupuncture points, diagnostics based on meridians and points, technology of needling and moxibustion, formulas of acupuncture and moxibustion, therapeutics of acupuncture and moxibustion, acupuncture anesthesiology, science of experimental acupuncture and moxibustion, science of acupuncture and moxibustion in micro-systems, acupuncture psychology, etc. All of them still belong to the category of broad sense of acupunctology.
Question: How did acupuncture and moxibustion originate?
Answer: The initiation of the acupuncture and moxibustion has undergone a long historical process. As early as the Stone Age, in primitive society before metallurgy was known, acupuncture was administered with needles fashioned from pieces of sharp stone. This is known as “bian? which is a rudiment of acupuncture. According to Shuo Wen Jie Zi (A Dictionary of Characters), compiled during the Han dynasty (206 B.C. - 220 A.D.), “bian means the curing of diseases by pricking with a stone? A cure was effected by pressing or pricking a certain section of the body. As social production developed, “bian?was replaced first by needles made of stone, bone or bamboo. When human society entered the Bronze and then the Iron Age, as metals were discovered, needles were made of copper, iron and silver. With the development of social productive technique, needling instruments were constantly improved which provided conditions for the further refinement of acupuncture. Today, acupuncture is done with fine needles of stainless steel. From the study of unearthed artifacts we can assess that “bian? was initiated at the end of the New Stone Age (the Neolithic Age), and metallic needles might have been initiated in the Xia Dynasty (c. 21st - 16th century B.C.) or the Shang Dynasty (c. 16th - c. 11th century B.C.). Moxibustion originated after the introduction of fire into man's life. It is assumed that while warming themselves by the fire, ancient people accidentally found relief or disappearance of certain pain or illness when definite areas of the skin were subjected to burning. Moxa leaves were later chosen as the material for cauterization as they are easily lit, and the heat produced is mild and effective in removing obstruction of meridians and collaterals. Thus the moxibustion was established. According to the research of archaeology, the Peking Man (Sinanthropus Pekinensis) applied fire 500 thousand years ago. Recently, it has been reported by two archaeologists of South Africa that humans utilized fire as early as 1,200,000 years ago. The moxibustion should be initiated after that when man invented utilization of fire. It should be initiated at least before the Spring-Autumn Period (700 - 476 B.C.) or the Warring States (475 - 221 B.C.) according to some literature of this period which mentioned moxibustion or moxa.
Question: How did the theory of acupuncture and moxibustion take hape?
Answer: In remote antiquity, our ancestors created primitive medicine during their struggles against nature. At first, people do not know the medicine. While searching for food they found that some plant or animal is eatable and profitable, and some others are not so. For example, vomiting or diarrhea was induced when something were eaten, or invalids might feel better after they ate something. So people gradually know that the certain diseases could be eliminated by eating of some thing. That was the beginning of finding and using herbal medicines. In the course of using stone implements as tools of production, they noted, by chance, that the pain in one part of the body would be alleviated when some other part was pricked, or pain in some place of the body would be relieved by pushing it with a piece of stone, thus the therapy of stone needle was created, and stimulating tools was being improved gradually. On the basis of it, acupuncture therapy was shaped afterwards. While warming themselves around a fire they discovered that the way of local warming with hot stones or earth wrapped in bark or animal skin would relieve or eliminate certain symptoms of diseases. They practiced and improved this method repeatedly and then gradually brought into the therapy of moxibustion. The theories of T.C.M. as well as its main branch of acupuncture and moxibustion mainly come from practice, and has been enriched and expanded unceasingly through the practice. To put them in a nutshell, they are approximately related to several aspects as follows:
a) Observing of natural phenomena For example, ancient people noted the change of day and night, cloudy and sunny , full and wane of moon; the difference among five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal and water) in natural world, the circulation of spring, summer, autumn and winter in season, the variety of environmental factors including wind, heat, dampness, dryness and cold, the variation of germination, growth, transformation, reaping, and storing in growth and development of living things.
b) Learning through living For example, it is learned that the rheumatalgia is easily suffered when living in damp area other than dry area; cold might easier been caught after drenching of rain; heat stoke may occur after exposing in scorching sun; eating some thing may result in discomfort, and eating some other thing may make one well, etc.
c) Rough dissection of human body Firstly, people gradually gained some perceptual knowledge about the shape and structure of animal body from hunting and livestock husbandry, and then got some audio-visual knowledge about the shape and structure of human body, such as the location of muscle, skeleton, the outline of internal organs from death, injury and murder. Further, some rough dissection of human body was done consciously, as a result, these knowledges were further increased.
d) Introduction from other sciences With the development of sciences, the relevant achievement or knowledge in other fields such as philosophy, astronomy, geography, calendar, and meteorology were introduced to T.C.M. For example, the theory of yin-yang was introduced from philosophy, the theory of cause of disease related to knowledge of meteorology.
e) Experiences of struggle against diseases As people have a certain knowledge to prevent and cure diseases, practice over practice, T.C.M. was enriched unceasingly and consciously through ages. This is a process of leap from some odd scraps of medical experiences to developed medical doctrine with a certain theories as guidance. This is a qualitative leap. It happened in the age before the Qin dynasty (221 - 207 B.C.). That is the years which the medical monumental work “Huang Di Nei Jing?(Yellow Emperor Internal Canon) was completed. It is the earliest extant theory monograph of medical book. This book probably was compiled during the Spring-Autumn period (770 - 476 B.C.) and the Warring States (475 - 221 B.C.), or the Qin dynasty (221 - 207 B.C.) to the Han dynasty (206 B.C. - A.D. 220), which is a crystallization of collective wisdom of medical scientist and philosopher at that time. It was known in later generations that this book consisted of two parts: Su Wen?(Plain Questions) and Ling Shu?(“Miraculous Pivot). The latter is also called Zhen Jing?(Canon of Acupuncture) or Jiu Juan (Nine Volumes). The book, Huang Di Nei Jing extensively summarizes and systematizes the previous experiences of treatment and theories of medicine, involves in the anatomy, physiology, pathology, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. It lays a primary foundation for the theories of T.C.M.
Question: What is the methodology of T.C.M.?
Answer: To understand the relationship between the physiological functions and pathological changes in T.C.M., the anatomical method is only used at certain extent. There are certain anatomical concepts in the viscera-state, it is rather inattentive and meagre. The anatomical concepts are not only fair naive, but some respects are wrong from the view of modern anatomy. The T.C.M. terminology of the internal organs of the human body are basically the same as those used in modern medicine, but all concepts are different. The functions of an organ in T.C.M. may contain the functions of many organs in modern medicine. Meanwhile, the functions of an organ in modern medicine may be contained in the functions of several viscera and bowels in T.C.M.. For instance, the heart in T.C.M. does refer to the same anatomic entity as in modern medicine, however, it also refers to some of the functions of the nervous system, especially some of those of the brain. The difference in concepts between T.C.M. and modern medicine is mainly due to the difference in the way of seeing things. T.C.M. gathers its knowledge of the internal organs mainly from repeated practice and observation, from the outside to search the inside, by conjecturing exterior to know interior, through various extra-organismal phenomena of functional activities to understand the viscera, by examining the syndrome to seek the cause of disease through practical observation, thinking and summing up in a long time for understanding of the complex functional activities of human body. On the contrary, modern medicine bases its knowledge mainly on repeated autopsies, experiments and summarization. According to the information theory founded by C. E. Shannon and N. Wiener in 1940s, the human body is like a black box, the method of knowing it is to carry out under the condition of unopened black box. The structure such as viscera, meridians reside inside of the body, the various functional phenomena served as information are transported to outside from inside. T.C.M. applies the peculiar theories such as the yin-yang, five-element etc. to synthesize, analyze, and ponder these information. Through thousand years in this way, T.C.M. gradually knows the basic states of the functional system in the body.
Question: What is the acupuncturist?
Answer: In the literal sense, acupuncturist refers to a technician of needling or a specialist in the technical details of acupuncture therapy, who should be trained for how to master & operate the techniques, like other technician in any other field.
Question: What is the acupunctologist?
Answer: Acupunctologist should be expert of acupunctology, who has highest level of knowledge and skills in the field of science of acupuncture and moxibustion, including related subjects such as basic medicine, clinical medicine and so on.
Question: Is acupuncture-moxibustion safe and hygienic?Are there any side effects? Is it painful?
Answer: Acupuncture and moxibustion are totally safe and without harmful side effects. Acupuncture needles are much finer and smoother than a syringe and there is very little pain involved with the insertion of these needles. Acupuncture is performed under clinically sterile conditions. All needles are disposable or autoclaved therefore it is impossible to get infection. There is also no possible damage of organ or tissue because a skilled operator ensures the proceedings according to the operating rules.
Question: What is the treatment range of acupuncture?
Answer: The clinical applications of acupuncture have a very wide range. There are many indications that have marked response. Some indications have very high efficacy in the spheres of internal medicine, surgery, gynecology, pediatrics, dermatology, otolaryngology, ophthalmology and stomatology. It is useful in the treatment of over 300 diseases, with a total cured achievement in over 100. The World Health Organization has summarized a list of diseases or conditions for which acupuncture is thought to be clinically useful. These include disorders of upper respiratory tract, respiratory system, eye and mouth as well as gastro-intestinal, neurological and musculo-skeletal disorders. Like any other therapies, acupuncture therapy also has its therapeutic limitations for some diseases.
Question: What is the clinical value of acupuncture built up?
Answer: The therapeutic values of acupuncture-moxibustion depends on regulation of physiological function and spontaneous ability to cure disease by the beneficial stimulation of points on the body. It has been evidenced by numerous clinical practice and modern experiments that acupuncture-moxibustion can benignly and dually affect the various systems of the body.
Question: What is the evaluation procedure before acupuncture?
Answer: The treatments of acupuncture and moxibustion require an comprehensive and accurate clinical evaluation. The first thing is to collect and analyze patient's complaints and signs as well as to order necessary lab test(s). The acupunctologist will pay close attention to patient's bodily structure, complexion, physical movements, and the appearance of the tongue, sound of the voice, general mental condition, etc. Then the patient will be questioned regarding the present illness, past history, menstruation and childbirth history, living and eating habits etc. Furthermore, certain parts of the body including vote sides of pulse will be palputed and analyzed. Following the diagnosis based on the clinical information and lab evidence, the acupunctologist identity whether the case is suitable for acupuncture treatment. If the answer is “yes? the specific treatment plan will be established and applied.
Question: What is the procedure of treatment?
Answer: The patient can feel free to discuss the treatment plan with his/her doctor. During the treatment, the patient lies or sits down. The selected points are cleaned with 70% alcoholized cotton, and then the needles are inserted. The needles typically stay in place for about half an hour. For some conditions, however, they may be in place for only a few minutes or for up to an hour. The needles may be manipulated by twirling or push-pull movements. Sometimes an electrical current is applied to further enhance the stimulation of the acupuncture points. The doctor adjusts the electrical current to the level where the patient is able to feel a slight vibrating sensation. The moxibustion method orcupping can also be used in the combination with acupuncture treatment for some cases.
Question: How many treatment do patients need?
Answer: One course of the treatment consists of 10-15 sessions. The interval between courses is 5-7 days. The number and the duration of the treatments will depend on the nature of the disease and whether the drugs have been or are being taken. Some case may need only two or three treatments, while some chronic conditions may need relative longer treatment. The average number is probably between three and twelve sessions.
Question: What does the patient feel during the acupuncture?
Answer: Common feelings during acupuncture are local distension, heaviness, numbness, soreness or a sensation like a tiny electric shock. All of these feelings are mild. They indicate that the healing is in progress. Notify the doctor if these sensations become uncomfortable.
Question: What is acupuncture fainting?
How to handle and avoid it? Answer: In very rare cases, a few patients may experience faintness, restlessness or nausea. All of these incidents are called acupuncture fainting. The doctor will correct the incident immediately once happen. There are no dangerous or side effects. To avoid these problems the patients should tell their doctor if they have been feeling very hungry, full, intoxicated, fatigued, weak, nervous, or if they have problems with perspiration, diarrhea or internal bleeding etc.
Question: Can woman accept acupuncture during her menstruation and pregnancy?
Answer: Stimulation of some points on the body may affect the activity of uterus so that these points should be avoided. It is important for female patients to notify the doctor if they are under the condition of menstruating or pregnant.
Question: Are there any feeling after acupuncture?
Answer: After acupuncture a few patients may feel a mild soreness or weakness in the area treated. This is not dangerous and will disappear soon without treatment.
Question: What should be noticed to susceptible people?
Answer: Sometimes a blister may appear among the susceptible people at the point of moxibustion or cupping. This can be easily treated. Also, rarely, a purplish coloration or swelling may appear in the area of acupuncture, and it will also disappear in a short time. Patients should inform the doctor if they have a tendency to hemorrhage.
Question: Should patients tell doctor about their current medical care or any related activities such as sports, diet?
Answer: The doctor should be noticed whether the patients are under any other medical care or participate in sports or other such activities. If the doctor believes that a change in such condition is advisable, then the patient will be advised. Sometimes the doctor will instruct the patients to make some dietary changes.
Question: What else should be aware during the treatment?
Answer: The treatments are interactive, the most important thing is to be relaxed during acupuncture, the doctor learns from patient’s responses. Please feel free to ask questions and speak up if any discomfort feeling occurs. The acupuncture doctor is very proud of offering this therapy. The acupuncture clinic demonstrates his continuing commitment to the health care of patients.

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