An Ancient Chinese pain relief technique now available in the West!
Tradtional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been receiving a lot of attention these days. The Coronavirus pandemic has shown the shortcomings of some Western Medical practices. Alternative forms of medicine are being considered by Medical Doctors in the West as well as by ordinary people everywhere. This includes Eastern Medical practices such as TCM.
A key to understanding Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is “balance”. This concept has its roots in Ancient Chinese Philosophy, especially with the complementary forces of Yin and Yang. Our earlier blog post article has discussed Yin and Yang before.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Yin and Yang are present throughout the whole universe, including the human body. When there is harmony between the Yin and Yang, the person is healthy. This means that the body's life force or Qi (pronounced Chee) is flowing properly through the meridians (channels) of the body. If the harmony is broken, then there is an obstruction of Qi and the person becomes sick. Doctors and practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) use a variety of remedies to restore balance and health. One of these is through the use of different herbal remedies.
Another popular remedy used alongside herbal remedies is acupuncture.
What is Acupuncture? How does it work?
Acupuncture is a technique in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for relieving pain, curing disease, and improving general health. Developed thousands of years ago, acupuncture is done by inserting one or several small metal needles into the skin and underlying tissues at precise points on the body.
When Yin and Yang are not in harmony, the Qi is not properly flowing through the body. Qi is said to flow through 12 meridians in the body. Each meridian is linked to a major internal organ such as the heart and liver. It may also be connected to a functional body system. With the use of acupuncture, a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) seeks to make sure the body's Qi flow is free and without obstruction.
What are the types of acupuncture needles? Does Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) use different sizes?
Acupuncture needles have an average diameter of 0.00325 inches- almost as thin as a strand of hair. They are much smaller in diameter than the hypodermic needles used in syringes. The lengths of the needles may be different. They could measure between 0.5 inches to 1.5 inches in length. Some are even as long as 9 inches or more! The different sizes target different areas of the body.
The points of the acupuncture needles are also very different. Some have arrowheaded points while others have exceedingly fine points. These needles are inserted on the skin at various depths. Some are inserted 3 to 10 mm (0.1 to 0.4 inch) but other procedures require the insertion of up to 25 cm (10 inches) into the body. For maximum effect, the needle is twisted, twirled, or connected to a low-voltage alternating current.
It is interesting to note that the acupuncture needles are usually inserted in places where the average person would not think of inserting them to remedy the health issue. For example, a needle inserted into the pad of the thumb is expected to produce analgesia in the abdomen. The proper needle inserted into the proper point in a meridian will produce effects to certain organs. This is why practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture are guided by diagrams and models passed down for generations. These diagrams and models show them the proper acupuncture points
What are the benefits of acupuncture? What is acupuncture used for in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?
The main benefits of acupuncture are longer lasting pain relief and generally, better health. This is especially true if it is done regularly. Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) say that the imbalances between Yin and Yang increase as a person ages. Older people with many health conditions may find a lot of relief from acupuncture.
Acupuncture can treat headaches and migraines. It is often used to treat other painful conditions in the bones and muscles like neck pain, joint pain, and dental pain. In China, acupuncture is used as an anesthetic during surgery. It is also used to treat postoperative pain (pain and soreness after a surgery). This is because many Chinese doctors use both Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to treat their patients.
Acupuncture uses different oils and ointments found in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). One popular ointment used is Eagle Brand Medicated Oil. Acupuncturists apply this oil directly to the point of insertion to help the needles insert more smoothly. The use of the oil also relaxes the patient and eases the tension in his body. Acupuncture is also used with popular Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) liniments such as Zheng Gu Shui. Both these products are available at our store!
Does acupuncture hurt? Will I feel pain when the needle is inserted into my skin?
Acupuncture does not hurt because the needles are very fine. You will not feel any pain. You might feel a slight prickly sensation depending on the sensitivity of your skin. Some people's skin may feel the prick of the needle more than others. Not surprisingly, people feel much better after an acupuncture session. This is because of the skill of practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) who know the proper needles to use and the proper parts of the body to insert them into. No need to worry when you see those needles sticking out of different body parts!
I am too scared to try Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) remedies like acupuncture. It all seems so foreign to me.
There is no shame in feeling a bit scared trying something out for the first time. If that thing is dangerous, you should probably not jump into it. But the remedies in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are constantly being studied and approved by doctors in the west. Acupuncture itself is becoming very common both in the United States and Canada. Many can attest to it's effectiveness. It truly has no equal in Western Medicine. Find a legitimate acupuncturist in your local area and schedule an appointment today! You will not regret it!
Note: This article is for informational purposes only. For any physical pain you may feel, always consult a doctor.