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Acupuncture: Where Ancient and Modern Medicine Collide

Several forms of alternative treatments are actually ancient Eastern medical practices that have endured the test of time and are still practiced widely throughout the world today. Acupuncture is only one of these treatments. While written evidence of acupuncture dates back to more than 5,000 years ago, some sources say that acupuncture was being used as early as 6,000 B.C.E. And although acupuncture was first developed and used in China, evidence of the early use of acupuncture can be found in other parts of the world as well.

From its Taoist beginnings in China, acupuncture spread to become a commonly accepted practice in regions as far flung as Egypt, South Africa, Arabia and Brazil. Acupuncture was even commonly used by the Eskimos. Of course, many early practitioners utilized materials that were commonly found in their region and culture. So, there were some differences in technique and materials. For example: Eskimos used sharpened stones to stimulate specific parts of the body whereas Brazilian tribesmen used miniature arrows shot through a blow pipe to penetrate the skin.  

Eventually the use of sharpened bone, bamboo and other common materials gave way to the use of metal needles. Today, very fine and thin metal needles are used in the practice of acupuncture, and acupuncture can be found all over the world. In fact, acupuncture is a recognized medical practice in many nations including the United States with licensed and certified doctors and boards overseeing the treatment of millions of patients.

Acupuncture Today: A Modern Look at Acupuncture

As mentioned before, very fine needles are used in the modern practice of acupuncture. The needles are inserted into specific pinpoint locations on the body that are thought to lie along meridians: paths where the vital energies of the body flow. There are 14 main lines or meridians where acupuncture is commonly performed. All lines are thought to connect with different regions and functions of the body. Following are some of the meridians most commonly focused on by modern acupuncturists:

•    Lung
•    Small and Large Intestine
•    Stomach
•    Spleen
•    Heart
•    Bladder and Kidneys
•    Pericardium
•    Gall Bladder
•    Liver
•    Ashi Points (Stimulated to treat localized pain)

Today, acupuncture is used to treat several different types of illnesses and conditions. Many of these conditions are muscular or skeletal in nature and cause the sufferer some amount of pain. And while many people seek out alternative acupuncture as a sole source of treatment, it is most commonly used as a secondary source of treatment. Following are just some of the conditions that have been treated successfully with modern acupuncture:

•    Chronic Pain
•    Arthritis
•    Carpal Tunnel
•    Anxiety
•    Headache
•    Muscle Spasms
•    Weight Loss
•    Stroke Rehabilitation
•    Urinary Problems
•    Gastrointestinal Disorders
•    Chemical Dependency Withdrawals
•    Phantom Pain

In addition to treating the above conditions, acupuncture has been found to be quite beneficial in treating a wide range of diseases and disorders ranging from the psychological to the physiological.

Despite its popularity, acupuncture is not without critics. Many claim that the theory of acupuncture has no real medical basis, and many studies have been inconclusive when it comes to finding out just why acupuncture works. However, with more than 8,000 years of history, thousands of skilled and trained practitioners and millions of satisfied subjects, acupuncture enjoys a solid standing as a recognized and honored alternative treatment. Acupuncture has even gained notoriety and acceptance by the Western medical community. All of this means that acupuncture will continue to endure for many more centuries to come.

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