** Cannot find article id 645 **
Ernestina Burchmore
Mei Liu
Adrian Low
** Cannot find article id 693 **

Information Available
What is Acupuncture?
How is Acupuncture Performed?
Does it hurt?
Can I get rebates from my health insurance?
The History of Acupuncture

What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an holistic form of healing based on ancient Chinese Medicine. This theory recognises illness or discomfort as an imbalance of a person's Qi (chee) or Life Force and this affects the body, mind and spirit. Acupuncture aims to rebalance this energy by encouraging the body to heal itself. This is done by shallowly inserting needles into various acupuncture points on the body. The needles act as beacons to redirect your Qi into a healthy and balanced dynamic state.

How is Acupuncture Performed
Acupuncture is the application of needles into specific points on the body. Each point has its own therapeutic benefits. The needles are inserted into the skin and muscles only as deep as is appropriate for that particular area on the body (e.g. a needle in the wrist area will not go as deep as a needle in the thigh). Acupuncture encourages your body to adjust itself back to your homeostatic (healthy) balance by aiding to clear what is blocked, fill what is empty, strengthen what is weak and drain what is in excess. In this way, acupuncture can assist in reducing pain and swelling throughout the body, assist digestion and gastrointestinal motility, help to reduce stress and anxiety, and balance the general circulation of blood, fluids and hormones.

Does it hurt?
If the needles are inserted swiftly into the skin, then the most you will feel is a tiny pinch. Acupuncture needles are very fine. They are often much thinner than hypodermic needles and are not meant to go into your major blood vessels or internal organs. Once the needles are inserted, you may feel sensations such as heaviness or distention, tingling or fluttering, tightening around the needle, or referred sensations along a meridian (e.g. leg, arm) or in a completely different area of your body (e.g. a needle in some leg points can produce a reaction in your stomach). These sensations may feel uncomfortable, but it means that the needles are doing their work at making the body react to readjust itself to a healthy homeostatic condition.

Can I get rebates from my health insurance?
Most private health insurers will give rebates but this will depend on your personal level of cover. It is always best to check with your Health Fund directly.

The History of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a very ancient form of healing which pre-dates recorded history. The philosophy is rooted in the Taoist tradition which goes back over 8000 years. In an attempt to explain the relationship between nature and the universe Fu Hsi formulated that the two major forces in the universe were creation and reception. It was how theseinteracted that formed life. This duality, yin-yang, is the basis on which the theory and application of traditional Chinese Medicine is based.

Fu Hsi then discovered that when yin-yang fuse, a creative action occurs, and this gives birth to a third aspect which was the basis of the I Ching. The I-Ching shaped the thinking for years to come and every influential book on Chinese Medicine is based upon its fundamental philosophy.

A significant milestone for Acupuncture occurred when the Yellow Emperor (2697-2597), in a famous dialogue between himself and his physician Qi Bo, discussed the whole spectrum of the Chinese Medical Arts. These conversations would later become the monumental text - The Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperors Classic of Internal Medicine). The Nei Jing is the earliest book written on Chinese Medicine.

Western medicine was introduced into China after the Revolution of 1911. Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology were suppressed by the ruling powers, however, they remained popular among the folk people, and the "barefoot doctor" emerged.

During the Long March (1934-35) in harsh conditions it was acupuncture which helped maintain the health of the army. This led the then leader of the Communist Party, Mao Zedong, to see that Acupuncture remained an important element in China's medical system.

Chairman Mao officially united Traditional Chinese Medicine with Western Medicine in 1950, and acupuncture became established in many hospitals. In the same year Comrade Zhu De reinforced Traditional Chinese Medicine with his book New Acupuncture.

In the late 1950's to the 1960's Acupuncture research continued with - further study of the ancient texts, clinical effect on various diseases, acupuncture anesthesia, and acupuncture's effect on the internal organs.

From the 1970's to the present, Acupuncture continues to play an important role in China's medical system. China has taken the lead in researching all aspects of acupuncture's application and clinical effects.

Although acupuncture has become modernized, it will never lose its connection to a philosophy established thousands of years ago.

Health Dimensions ©2004