Acupuncture - What is It and How Does It Really Work?
To describe acupuncture, one must first get to the root of its historical backdrop. Dating back as far as 2,000 BC, this age-old art parallels the Han dynasty. Even earlier than that, acupuncture may have possibly originated almost 4,000 years ago, based on hieroglyphic findings and stone (bian) and ceramic acupuncture needles, which have been documented throughout the centuries.
But what exactly is acupuncture? In general, it is a holistic healing art that is used to treat the "whole person," rather than just the parts of a person. Traditionally, acupuncture and oriental medicine schools teach students to use hair-fine needles made of copper, silver and stainless steel. The "needling" that is administered to patients is done in a specific manner, at specific points of the body. "Acupoints" are based on meridians (energy channels) throughout the body, and are used as a template (imagine a country map with key points) for acupuncture treatment. By inserting these ultra-thin acupuncture needles at various acupoints on a person's body, the corresponding organs (heart, kidneys, etc.) to the meridians are believed to be positively affected. Theoretically, the flow of Qi (vital energy force) is ultimately set back into balance so restoration and healing can occur.
For skeptics out there, acupuncture may sound like a far-fetched idea for treatment. But if you ask patients who have had a positive outcome from acupuncture, you may be astonished by the results. Through controlled trials, acupuncture has proven to be an effective treatment for the side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, as wll as allergies, depression, headaches and migraines, hypertension, musculoskeletal pain, rheumatoid arthritis, stroke, and many other health conditions and diseases.
Because of the increased attention that alternative medicine and natural healing arts have received in recent years, there has been an expansive growth in acupuncture schools in the United States. Currently, there are roughly 50 schools that are either pending accreditation or have been accredited by the ACAOM (Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) and the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM).
For aspiring acupuncturists, a school that teaches both acupuncture and oriental medicine can prepare graduates to expertly administer acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to patients.
In addition to extensive acupuncture studies, the general curriculum will typically involve Chinese herbology, Chinese Tuina, moxibustion, oriental medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and other associated topics. Additional coursework includes may include standard lessons in anatomy, pathology, physiology, psychology, neurological and other musculoskeletal conditions, business and practical management, and other related classes. For instance, students are often exposed to related studies, such as chiropractic medicine, massage and massage therapy.
If you want to know if acupuncture really works, that depends on whom you ask. If you're open minded and accepting of a not-so-new healing art that has been proven to be beneficial for thousands of years, then perhaps you may just change your thinking. Still not impressed? Check into a community education program or certificate program in acupuncture, and allow the ancient art to be revealed to you.
In closing, acupuncture is practiced by professionals who have acquired the essential level of quality education, training, and clinical internship to attain a Masters in Acupuncture Degree from an accredited school, as well as the appropriate license.
To learn more about Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Schools and additional learning programs, we invite you to visit our Natural Healing Directory to find more in-depth information and resources.