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 ~ A brief introduction and facts

Acupuncture was first recorded in Huangdi Neijing (the Yellow Emperor's Canon of Internal Medicine), one of the earliset Chinese medical classics in TCM published more than two thousand years ago. In fact, through archaeological discoveries, the activities of Acupuncture originated in the prehistory and can be traced back for over five thousand years. It is based on the belief that health is determined by a balanced flow of Qi (Chi), the vital life energy present in all living organisms. According to acupuncture theory, Qi circulates in the body along fourteen major energy pathways, called meridians, each linked to specific internal organs and organ systems. There are over one thousand acupuncture points within the meridians system that can be stimulated to enhance the flow of Qi. When special needles are inserted into these acupuncture points (just on the skin), they help correct and rebalance the flow of energy and consequently restore health.

Perhaps no other alternative therapy than acupuncture has received more attention or gained acceptance more quickly in the United States. Most Americans had never even heard of acupuncture until 1971, when New York Times journalist James B. Reston wrote an eye-opening report on his own account of receiving acupuncture treatment after his urgent appendectomy in Beijing. Today, the needling of the West is in full swing. Each year, Americans alone make over 10 million visits to acupuncturists for diverse sickness such as back pain, arthritis, morning sickness, and bladder infections.

The World Health Organization of the United Nations (WHO) has cited 104 different conditions that acupuncture can treat, including migraines, sinusitis, the common cold, tonsillitis, asthma, inflammation of the eyes, addictions, myopia, duodenal ulcer and other gastrointestinal disorders, trigeminal neuralgia, Meniere’s disease, tennis elbow, paralysis from stroke, speech aphasia (loss of language abilities due to brain damage), sciatica, and osteoarthritis.

Acupuncture has also been found to be effective in the treatment of a variety of rheumatoid conditions, and brings relief in 80 percent of those who suffer from arthrosis. There is also evidence to suggest that acupuncture is valuable in the treatment of environmentally-induced illness due to radiation, pesticide poisoning, environmentally toxic compounds, and air pollution.

In 1997, acupuncture needles were reclassified from "experimental" to "medical device" by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The National Institutes of Health released a consensus statment in the same year endorsing acupuncture for the treatment of a variety of conditions such as post-operative pain, tennis elbow, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Acupuncture is one of the best known of the alternative therapies. The FDA estimates that people in the United States spend more than $500 million annually on acupuncture treatments. Many people have insurance coverage for acupuncture.