What acupunture is
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has had a history of several thousand years. It is the crystallization of the rich experiences in the Chinese people’s long struggle against diseases. The origin of CM can be traced back to remote antiquity in China. From the time humans first appeared on earth there have been medical practice and activities of healthcare. For instance, in ancient times early humans moistened their bruises with saliva, extracted thorns that lodged in their flesh, and applied leaves or mud on their wounds. They tasted herbs, adopting some and rejecting others. They used massage to relieve pain from the body. They splinted their broken bones with tree branches. When bitten by a venomous animal they themselves or others sucked the poison from the wound. Following the development of productive forces and progress of human society, people began to know more about their own life activities and to accumulate rich medical knowledge day by day. Under the guidance of these natural sciences, there appeared an early medical classic – the Huangdi Internal Classic, or the Internal Classic for short The Internal Classic explained the laws of life and the unity of the body with the natural world. It provided a systematic discussion of anatomy – the viscera and the meridians – physiology and pathology. It also expounded the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases. In deliberately combining natural science with philosophy, the Internal Classic provided a deep interdisciplinary approach toward medicine and medical practice. The philosophical background of TCM is totally different from that of Western medicine. People in the West are accustomed to the logical mode of thinking, which emphasizes a relationship of clear causality, whereas to learn and practice TCM requires a differential mode of approach. The reason is that TCM arose out of ancient Chinese society, and its theoretical system was profoundly influenced by the distinctive theories of Qi, of Yin–Yang, and of the Five Elements The concept of Qi postulates that Qi is the basic substance that constitutes the universe. All objects in this universe are born of the transformation of Qi .In medicine Qi is the basic substance that makes up the human body. The theory of Yin–Yang postulates that the normal vital activities of the human body depend upon the harmonious cooperation of Yin and Yang through their opposition and unity. The various functional activities of the body belong to Yang, and all material bases for the vital functions, including essence, blood and body fluids, belong to Yin. It is because of the harmonious cooperation between the functions and their supporting substances and of the dynamic equilibrium between Yin and Yang in the body that healthy vital activities are maintained. CM holds that disease may occur when something causes disturbance in the balance of Yin–Yang, resulting in excess or deficiency of one or the other. The occurrence and progression of disease relate to both genuine Qi and evil Qi. The interaction and struggle between these two can be encompassed and explained by the theory of Yin–Yang. The fundamental pathology of the onset, progression and changes of disease lies in the disturbance in the balance of Yin–Yang. For this reason, in clinical practice no matter how complex or how variable the many symptoms may be they can all be analyzed and differentiated according to the principles governing changes in Yin–Yang. Qi is circulated through the blood stream via fourteen energy channels called meridians. Each one of these pathways or channels through which Qi flows is linked to an internal organ system. There are over 1,000 acupuncture points within the meridian system that can be stimulated to enhance the flow of Qi. In theory, inserting needles helps correct the flow of energy within the body and thus relieves pain and restores health.
The effects of acupuncture may be categorised by their site of action: (1) Local: within the immediate vicinity of the needle. These include the release of neurotransmitters (80–90% of neurotransmitter from the so-called afferent nerve is released at the peripheral end after stimulation) that are involved in the promotion of healing. (2) Segmental: within the segment of the spinal cord where the nerves from the needled site enter the central nervous system. (3) Heterosegmental: at all segmental levels of the central nervous system. (4) General: this describes the effects that appear to impinge on the whole body, possibly through release of neuropeptides or hormones into the circulation.