Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most
commonly used medical procedures in the world and is used by one third of the world's population as a primary health care system. It is
likely that more people have been treated by Chinese medicine throughout history than by any other formalized
system of medicine.
Acupuncture is a safe and effective natural therapy that is used to heal illness, prevent disease and improve
well-being. Tiny, hair-thin needles are inserted into specific points in the body, where they are gently stimulated
to trigger the body's natural healing response. Acupuncture is effective for controlling pain and can regulate the
body's physiological functions to treat various internal dysfunction and disorders.
According to traditional acupuncture theory, there are twelve energy channels called "meridians" running vertically
along the length of the human body, each one linking to a specific organ. Illness is caused by obstructed energy
flow at certain points along the meridians. Acupuncture therapy stimulates meridian flow and harmonizes the body's
energy to influence the health of both body and
first formal record of acupuncture was complied in China between 300 B.C. and 100 B.C., but that compilation
is so extensive and complete its obvious acupuncture had been practiced long before that time. Based on
recent archaeological discoveries, scholars now believe acupuncture in a rudimentary form may date back 5000,
even 7000 years. It’s probably safe to say that acupuncture has been a healing method to some degree at least
In countries such as Japan and China, which make up about a fifth of the world's population, acupuncture has been
established as a primary form of health care for thousands of years, where the acupuncturist's role was comparable
to that of the physician.
Today in such countries, acupuncture treatment remains an integral component of the health care system, offered in
conjunction with Western medicine. In North America, acupuncture has drawn growing public attention in recent
years. The flood of headlines in the mass media describe this expanding interest and acceptance.
The Washington Post, for example, reported in 1994 that an estimated 15 million Americans, or about 6 percent of
the population, have tried acupuncture for various ailments that include chronic pain, fatigue, nausea, arthritis,
and digestive problems.
The term acupuncture describes a family of procedures involving stimulation of anatomical points
on the body by a variety of techniques. American practices of acupuncture incorporate medical traditions from
China, Japan, Korea, and other countries.
The acupuncture technique that has been most studied scientifically involves penetrating the skin with thin, solid,
metallic needles that are manipulated by the hands or by electrical stimulation.
This highly effective system of medical care is based on natural laws
which govern the movement of vital life giving energy, both in nature and in the body. This energy, called
"chi", moves through the body in precise channels supporting functions of the body, mind and spirit.
When "chi" is moving disharmoniously, imbalance begins to surface in the form of specific symptoms. To address the
underlying cause of a condition, these symptoms are viewed in relationship to the totality of a person.
The gentle insertion of hair thin needles at specific points along the channels of chi energy, help restore
harmony. In the presence of this subtle yet profound intervention, symptoms often resolve and patients frequently
experience renewed vitality.
In 1995, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reclassified acupuncture needles from the Class III
(investigational device) category to the Class II (safe and effective but requiring restrictions) category.
In November 1997, the US National Institute of Health held a major conference to discuss the use, efficacy, and
safety of acupuncture. Based on their conclusions, the NIH issued a report entitled "Acupuncture: The NIH stated
that acupuncture is a useful method for the treatment of a variety of conditions such as post-operative pain,
nausea, migraines, arthritis, menstrual cramps, low back pain, and tennis elbow.
Furthermore, the NIH acknowledged that the side-effects of acupuncture are considerably less compared with other
medical procedures such as drugs and surgery. In addition, the NIH made a recommendation to US insurance companies
to provide coverage of acupuncture treatments for certain conditions.
This expanding paradigm is changing the face of
medicine as we know it. Acupuncture has already been accepted as one of the more common forms of pain management
therapy in many pain clinics in US and Canadian hospitals.
As a result, acupuncture is becoming accessible for more and more Canadians. Doctors are recommending acupuncture
for their patients for various conditions and insurance plans are beginning to include acupuncture treatments.
The benefit of acupuncture treatment is now clearly recognized and
well documented in western medical journals and in medical institutions across the United States.
Because of its relatively low cost and its noninvasive nature,
acupuncture has become a highly popular form of alternative and complementary health care in the United