Medical acupuncture

From ArticleWorld

Acupuncture owes its entrance into modern mainstream medicine to President Nixon and his visit to China in 1972. Whilst he was there, the world was witness to acupuncture analgesia being used instead of anesthetic during surgery and so interest in the practice increased. Traditional acupuncture is very complicated and time consuming, however, and so modern acupuncture was invented. Over eighty countries are members of the International Council of Medical Acupuncturists today.

Most practitioners of medical acupuncture are working health professionals like doctors, physiotherapists and osteopaths who see acupuncture as a useful extension of the medicine they already practice. The process is much easier to learn as it sidesteps the eastern philosophy on which the traditional form is based and is less time consuming as the modern version uses fewer needles which are usually inserted for a shorter time enabling its use in a busy practice.

Differences between the old and the new

Medical acupuncture differs from traditional acupuncture in three ways. The first is that the eastern philosophy is based on there being a vital energy called ‘qi’ which flows around the body in channels called meridians, which connect all the organs and body systems. Ill health is caused when the flow of energy is disrupted in some way and acupuncturists insert needles into specific points around the body to restore the flow. Medical acupuncturists do not study these acupuncture points and instead insert needles into trigger points, which are tender areas, mostly muscles, from which pain or pain relief can travel to other areas of the body.

Alternatively, some medical acupuncturists may insert the needles on body segments related to organs according to western anatomical knowledge, or in some cases may consider the actual placeing of the needles more important than where they are placed.

Secondly, the two theories differ in the concepts of disease, one on which is based on eastern philosophy and experience and the other on western science and experience.

Thirdly, medical acupuncture requires its practitioners to have a knowledge and understanding of anatomy, physiology and biochemistry.