What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a holistic natural therapy that is indicated to relieve a wide variety of discomforts in order to provide personal well-being. It is aimed to people who wish to take care of themselves with a natural therapy and / or complementary to the procedure that their usual clinical doctor is providing. In addition, acupuncture is used as a preventive therapy in numerous processes.
It is one of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) techniques. In this technique, fine needles are inserted into a set of points distributed throughout the body in which the energy is located, this set of points are called channels or meridians. The stimulation of the needles unblocks and activates the energy (also called Qi) in order to achieve the correct restoration and balance to overcome the disease.
Since it is a natural therapy the objective is to achieve the balance of energy and it has many advantages, being one of the most important that it has virtually no side effects and does not involve any type of chemical elements. In addition, it is fully compatible with the treatments that the doctor has sent to you.
Meridian channels and energy pathways
Each meridian or channel is associated with a specific organ. By stimulating an acupuncture point, blockages within the system of channels responsible for pain and disease can be relieved.
Acupuncture, therefore, can be useful to restore energy levels, restore Qi and blood supply, decrease pain and inflammation in any element of our body. Many chronic conditions can be prevented by improving the functioning, interaction and communication of this system of energy channels.
Acupuncture is performed by inserting sterile single-use thin needles, which gently stimulate certain specific points along the energy channels that exist in our body, regulating the flow of energy or Qi.
Disease or disharmony can occur when the flow of energy or Qi that passes through one or more channels or meridians becomes slow or blocked, thus preventing good communication and proper generation of energy between them. This results in an imbalance of yang and yin energy, which is manifested by the complaints or disease. Acupuncture restores this disharmony and, consequently, a rebalancing is achieved and the signs improve or disappear.
What can acupuncture be used for?
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), acupuncture can help treat the following problems
General health problems
- Give up smoking
- Trouble sleeping
- Weak immune system
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Musculoskeletal and injuries
- Back pain
- Frozen shoulder
- Sports injuries
- Tennis elbow
- Tendon and ligament injuries
- Repetitive stress injury
- Hay fever
- Breast infections
- Sore throat / infection
- Common cold
- High / low blood pressure
- Cold hands / feet
- Poor circulation
- Heart problems
- Cystitis and urinary tract infection
- Kidney disorders
- Bedwetting / Incontinence
Gynecology and Obstetrics
- Premenstrual tension
- Menstrual symptoms
- Threatened miscarriage
- Recurrent abortion
- Symptoms of pregnancy
- Work preparation
- Buttock presentation
- Morning Sickness
- Insufficient breastfeeding
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Menopausal symptoms
- Dizziness and vertigo
- Poor concentration
- Transient ischemic attack and post-stroke effects
- Hyperactive and Attention Deficit Disorder
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Conduct disorders
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Gastric / peptic ulcers
- Acidity / reflux
- Diarrhea / Constipation
- Liver / gallbladder disorders
- Chron’s Disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Blood sugar imbalance
- Abdominal distention
Psychological / emotional disorders
- Panic disorders
- Glandular fever
- Thyroid problems
- Hearing and vision problems
- Restless leg syndrome
Acupuncture, yesterday and today
Acupuncture emerges in China, although it is not known exactly when it was. The book of reference is the one known by Nei Jing under the Han dynasty (206 B.C. – 280 A.D.) was one of the first books where a compilation of this therapy was made.
The acupuncture points were found by observation and were transmitted orally from generation to generation and it is estimated that around 2,800 B.C. the first writing and graphics on the different points began.
Later, in 2,700 B.C. during the reign of Huang-Ti, the first manuscripts of the acupuncture “Treatise of the Needles” were written. It is attributed to this period the change from stone needles to metal needles, starting with the steel ones.
According to archaeological discoveries it is estimated that in Japan this technique was used with bones and stone. In the 4th – 5th century of our era, needles were found probably carried by Chinese Buddhist monks. Also its use of this therapist is transferred to Korea, Vietnam and the surrounding countries.
Information about acupuncture came to Europe through the Silk Route from the East and is mentioned in Greek and Roman civilization. But it was not until Louis XIV, in the 17th century, sent a scientific mission to China, where a treaty was later written in 1671 in France. Other publications followed in London. In 1943 Dr. Roger de la Fuyee founded the French Society of Acupuncture, the first to be founded in Europe, and in 1945 he founded the International Society of Oriental Medicine.
Recognition of acupuncture today
Due to the extensive use of acupuncture worldwide, in 1979 acupuncture was recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an effective therapy for the procedure of 49 different diseases, including respiratory, gastrointestinal, neurological, skeletal muscle, psychosomatic and other diseases. In order to protect this millenary therapy, in 2010 UNESCO declared Acupuncture and Moxibustion Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:
Acupuncture and moxibustion were learned through verbal instruction and demonstration, and were passed on from master to disciple or among members of a clan. Today, the techniques of acupuncture and moxibustion are transmitted through formal education at university centres.Salvaguardia del Patrimonio Cultural Inmaterial de la UNESCO
Safeguarding of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage
In 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) published the WHO Strategy on Traditional Medicine 2014-2023, which highlights acupuncture. The WHO supports Traditional and Complementary Medicine (TCM) because it believes that “Traditional medicine is an important and often underestimated part of health services… Historically, traditional medicine has been used to maintain health, and to prevent and treat disease, particularly chronic diseases. This strategy has been developed in response to the World Health Assembly resolution on traditional medicine. The objectives are to support Member States in harnessing the potential contribution to health, well-being and people-centred health care; and to promote the safe and effective use of TCM through regulation and research, as well as through the incorporation of products, practitioners and practices into health systems, as appropriate.
Consequently, in June 2018, WHO presented a chapter on natural medicine in the International Classification of Diseases, ICD-11
which is significant because, although millions of people use traditional medicine around the world, it has never been classified in this system.
ICD-11 was be presented to the World Health Assembly in May 2019 for adoption by Member States and will enter into force on 1 January 2022. This presentation is a breakthrough that will allow countries to plan how to use the new version, prepare translations and train health professionals across the country.The World Health Organization