Acupuncture continued to flourish over hundreds of years and spread to other countries such as Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and Europe. It wasn’t until 1972, during the Nixon administration’s historic visit to China that acupuncture became largely known to the west. Today, acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is used by millions of people and practiced all over the world to treat a wide variety of disorders.
Much of the philosophy behind Acupuncture is based on the concept of Yin & Yang. The early Taoists believed that harmony with the natural laws of the universe which is represented by Yin & Yang is essential to maintaining one’s health and when there is an imbalance between these two forces, “dis-ease” results. One of the unique aspects of Acupuncture is the emphasis on the prevention of disease. During ancient times, the Chinese physician was only compensated when the patient remained healthy and if the patient became sick, it was the doctor’s duty to get them well again without compensation. Acupuncture also applies a truly holistic approach in treating disorders and all factors of the patient’s presentation including physical, emotional, environmental and lifestyle choices are taken into consideration to identify the underlying or “root” cause of the disease. The whole being is addressed during treatment, not just the condition or the “branches”.
Another central concept of acupuncture is Qi (pronounced chee). Qi is believed to be the “universal life force” or “energy” that governs all matter and living beings. Like water, Qi nourishes all life and wherever a river flows, it carries water to provide nourishment and sustenance for life on earth. Similarly, meridians are like the rivers in which Qi circulates inside our bodies. Diseases arise from a blockage in the free flow of Qi and one of the primary aims of the acupuncturist is to restore harmony by removing the obstructions in the meridians. Needles are inserted into various acupuncture points on the body to release the blockages, restore balance and activate the body’s own healing mechanisms. The practitioner is not seen as a healer in this case but instead, works as a catalyst and “change-agent” that activates the patient’s own healing mechanisms.
The practitioner is not seen as a healer in this case but instead, works as a catalyst and “change-agent” that activates the patient’s own healing mechanisms.