Acupuncture & Moxibustion: An Introduction
Acupuncture and Moxibustion are among the oldest healing practices in the world. The therapies of Acupuncture and Moxibustion have a long history.
In its 2500 years of development, a wealth of experience has been accumulated, attesting to the wide range of diseases and conditions that it can effectively treat. In the United States, where practitioners incorporate healing traditions from China, Japan, Korea, and other countries, Acupuncture is considered part of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The practice of Acupuncture and Moxibustion are based on the theory of the Meridians. According to this theory, qi (vital energy) and blood circulates in the body through a system of channels called meridians, connecting internal organs to external organs or tissues. By stimulating certain points of the body surface reached by meridians through needling or Moxibustion, the flow of qi and blood can be regulated and diseases are thus treated. These stimulation points are called acupuncture points, or Acu-points.
※ Acupuncture and Moxibustion have been practiced in China and other Asian countries for thousands of years.
※ Scientists are studying the efficacy of Acupuncture and Moxibustion for a wide range of conditions.
※ Relatively few complications have been reported from the use of acupuncture or Moxibustion. However, Acupuncture and Moxibustion can cause potentially serious side effects if not delivered properly by a qualified practitioner.
※ Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.
Practiced in China and other Asian countries for thousands of years, acupuncture is one of the key components of traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture became better known in the United States in 1971, when New York Times reporter James Reston wrote about how doctors in China used needles to ease his pain after surgery. American practices of acupuncture incorporate medical traditions from China, Japan, Korea, and other countries.
Acupuncture & Moxibustion Use in the United States
The report from a Consensus Development Conference on Acupuncture held at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1997 stated that acupuncture is being "widely" practiced—by thousands of physicians, dentists, acupuncturists, and other practitioners—for relief or prevention of pain and for various other health conditions. According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, which included a comprehensive survey of CAM use by Americans, an estimated 3.1 million U.S. adults and 150,000 children had used acupuncture in the previous year. Between the 2002 and 2007 NHIS, acupuncture use among adults increased by approximately 1 million people.
(Toast) Today, let’s express of best wishes to acupuncture, wish it long live. Please do not take acupuncture as something fusty. Acupuncture is not fusty, it is scientific. In future, every country in this world will need it.
--Said by Mao zedong in 1955.4
Acupuncture & Moxibustion Side Effects and Risks
Relatively few complications from the use of acupuncture and moxibustion have been reported to the FDA, in light of the millions of people treated each year and the number of acupuncture needles used. Still, complications have resulted from inadequate sterilization of needles and from improper delivery of treatments. Practitioners should use a new set of disposable needles taken from a sealed package for each patient and should swab treatment sites with alcohol or another disinfectant before inserting needles. When not delivered properly, acupuncture can cause serious adverse effects, including infections and punctured organs. During moxibustion treatment, doctor needs to conmunicate with patients frequently. If patient feel too heat to bear, the doctor can move the moxa fire a litter far.
Acupuncture & Moxibustion for Pain
※ People use acupuncture for various types of pain. Back pain is the most commonly reported use, followed by joint pain, neck pain, and cancer pain.
※ Acupuncture and moxibustion are being studied for their efficacy in alleviating many kinds of pain. There are promising findings in some conditions, such as chronic low-back pain and osteoarthritis of the knee; but, for most other conditions, additional research is needed. In Fuda hospital, a fund to sponsor a research on Acupuncture and moxibustion for cancer pain is established.
※ Acupuncture and moxibustion are generally considered safe when performed correctly.
※In traditional Chinese medicine theory, acupuncture and moxibustion regulate the flow of qi (vital energy) through the body. Research to test scientific theories about how acupuncture might work to relieve pain is under way.
Pain is a feeling triggered in the nervous system. It may be sharp or dull, off-and-on or steady, localized (such as back pain) or all over (such as muscle aches from the flu). Sometimes, pain alerts us to injuries and illnesses that need attention. Although pain usually goes away once the underlying problem is addressed, it can last for weeks, months, or even years. Chronic pain may be due to an ongoing condition (such as arthritis) or to abnormal activity in pain-sensing regions of the brain, or the cause may not be known.
To relieve their pain, many people take over-the-counter medications—either acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, including aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen). Stronger medications, including NSAIDs in higher dosages and narcotics, are available by prescription only. People may also try non-drug approaches to help relieve their pain. Examples include physical and occupational therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, self-care techniques, and CAM therapies such as deep tissue massage or acupuncture and moxibustion.
Use of Acupuncture for Pain
Acupuncture, among the oldest healing practices in the world, is part of traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture and moxibustion practitioners stimulate specific points on the body—most often by inserting thin needles through the skin. In traditional Chinese medicine theory, this regulates the flow of qi (vital energy) along pathways known as meridians.
According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, which included a comprehensive survey of CAM use by Americans, 1.4 percent of respondents (an estimated 3.1 million Americans) said they had used acupuncture in the past year. A special analysis of acupuncture data from an earlier NHIS found that pain or musculoskeletal complaints accounted for 7 of the top 10 conditions for which people use acupuncture. Back pain was the most common, followed by joint pain, neck pain, severe headache/migraine, and recurring pain.
Acupuncture & Moxibustion for Nausea and Vomiting
To date, more than three dozen randomized controlled studies have been published showing that acupuncture point stimulation can treat or prevent nausea and vomiting.
While most acupuncture treatments are tailored to individual patients and are highly dependent on practitioner preference points, most acupuncturists and doctors of Oriental medicine appear to prefer using the P6 or Neiguan point, which is located two cun below the distal wrist crease on a patient's lower arm. (A cun is a Chinese measurement equaling the width of the middle joint of the patient's thumb; two cun equals approximately the width of three fingers.
Acupressure and moxibustion have also been employed to relieve the symptoms of nausea and vomiting, sometimes in conjunction with acupuncture, sometimes as a stand-alone therapy. Many practitioners prescribe acupressure bracelets, which apply pressure to certain points without the use of needles. And because the P6 point is easy to reach, many patients can be instructed to apply acupressure themselves to help reduce nausea.
Acupuncture Can Treat Fatigue Symptoms
It is estimated that over half of the American population experiences chronic or generalized fatigue. The most common causes are stress, insomnia and depression. Various malfunctions in the endocrine, cardiovascular and digestive body systems may also cause fatigue.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a disease affecting an estimated 1 million Americans. The cause of CFS remains unknown and is possibly a common endpoint of disease resulting from multiple causes. CFS is characterized by prolonged fatigue accompanied by a combination of symptoms, including musculoskeletal pain, cognitive impairment, headaches, and sleep disturbances.
There is no defined therapy or standard treatment for fatigue. Associated with depression, antidepressant medications are often prescribed for fatigue symptoms, which cause considerable side effects. Conventional therapies emphasize reduced stress, overexertion prevention, stretching, dietary modification, and nutritional supplementation.
Alternative therapies recommended for CFS and generalized fatigue include acupuncture for pain management, massage therapy and stretching/movement therapies (tai chi, yoga). Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) uses a combination of acupuncture, moxibustion, Chinese herbal medicine, and lifestyle changes (diet, exercise and meditation) to treat fatigue. Acupuncture is often integrated as a complementary therapy for patients with CFS.
Acupuncture and moxibustion effectively treats the various symptoms associated with fatigue and can strengthen a weakened immune system, enhance vital energy, nourish blood, and increase lymph circulation. Typically, a series of weekly treatments for 4 to 6 weeks is recommended, followed by progress assessment, to balance the immune system, reduce fatigue levels and increase functional capacity. Specific Chinese herbal remedies and dietary modification may be recommended.