Chinese Acupuncture

The image of the body being pierced by fine needles is perhaps the stereotypical view of Chinese Medicine. Although Chinese Medicine encompasses other modalities of healing, Chinese acupuncture is certainly the most well known component of this system of medicine.

The Chinese have been using and refining the techniques of acupuncture for more than 3000 years, with consistent and remarkable effect. Check out our Acupuncture School to learn these techniques.

Chinese acupuncture evolved as an essentially empirical science, founded on a body of knowledge that has developed from the ongoing and systematic observation of the effect of needling specific points and areas of the body. Initially, crude needles, made from sharpened stones, animal bones or bamboo, were used “to remove obstructions from the channels and regulate the flow of blood and qi”. This quote, from some point between 200 BC and AD 100, indicates that the theory of acupuncture has been in place for centuries. Over time the initial practice of inserting needles into ‘ashi’ points (points on the body where pain is experienced) was systematically developed; the energetic model of Qi, Jing, Blood and Fluids was articulated and the paths were qi energy flows were mapped out as the meridians of the body. Specific points were identified and their actions recorded. Even now, the theory of Chinese acupuncture continues to be developed and refined.

In terms of clinical practice, Chinese acupuncture today is a very different from these early developments, but fundamentally the theories and principles remain the same.

Many conditions can be cured or at least improved by acupuncture administered by a qualified and experienced practitioner. A course of treatment (meaning several sessions) is generally required, although results may sometimes by immediate and dramatic.

A distal point (farthest from the site of the symptoms) is usually needled, as well as local points.

Chinese medicine sees all illness as a process of energetic disharmony- which acupuncture can help to correct; there are no disorders for which this form of treatment is inappropriate.

Chinese acupuncture can be used to treat both adults and children. It is particularly successful in treating certain conditions like sinusitis, bronchitis, colds and flues and asthma. There are over 300 disease conditions that the World Health Organization has listed as being treatable with Chinese medicine and acupuncture.

There are very few situations were Chinese acupuncture is contraindicated. Some conditions might be: where the patient has a hemophilic condition, where the patient is pregnant (certain points and needle manipulations are contraindicated in pregnancy), if the patient has a severe psychotic condition or has recently taken drugs or alcohol (although Chinese acupuncture can be very helpful in treating drug and alcohol addictions). There are no contraindications for the use of acupuncture in the treatment of patients with HIV related disorders, although rigorous hygiene protocols must be followed. Acupuncture cannot cure Aids but it can be most helpful in supporting the management of a variety of symptoms connected with it.

There are some conditions, like psoriasis and eczema for example, where acupuncture may have limited success on its own, but can be effective alongside other treatments, especially herbal remedies.

Now the husband of my closest friend is undergoing treatment for cancer of rectum. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed cancer of the 4th stage, so there are not many things to hope for. First there was chemo, then radiation, and now chemo again. In the last block the doctor advised to take Nolvadex. I have read at that Nolvadex helps in case of malignant tumors. And at least the last MRI showed that there was no change, the tumor growth stopped after chemotherapy with the reception of the drug.

In the West, many practitioners of Chinese acupuncture mostly see clients with long-term chronic conditions. For these patients, acupuncture is very often a last resort, and in such situations progress is likely to be slow, with a large number of treatments required.

This is not always the case; sometimes acupuncture can produce rapid and dramatic results. As Chinese Medicine becomes more established in the West, a growing number of patients are choosing this as their first option for health care, and the range of conditions being successfully treated with acupuncture is growing all the time.

The tools and techniques of Chinese acupuncture have come a long way from the slivers of stone or bamboo needles used in acupuncture’s ancient beginnings.

Today, Chinese acupuncture needles are made of metals and surgical steel.

In the West, acupuncturists must follow strict guidelines in the use of needles.

All needles are kept in totally sterile packs and are used a single time for one patient and then discarded. Needles are available in a variety of lengths and thicknesses. The choice of needle to be used is left to the clinical judgment of the practitioner but is usually governed by the point being needled and the effect the practitioner is seeking.

The most commonly used needles in Chinese acupuncture are between half an inch and 1.5 inches long. Fine needles are inserted superficially into areas of thin skin and longer needles are used for fleshy areas.

The Academy of Classical Oriental Sciences trains students in the art and practice of Chinese acupuncture, one modality of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Students leave the Academy fully prepared for a career as an acupuncturist and ready to challenge licensing exams in any province or state.

At ACOS our motto is “Educating the TCM leaders of Tomorrow”. Join us to explore the profound and ancient art of Chinese acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.