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What is acupuncture?

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What is acupuncture?

What is acupuncture? What does it do for pain? Is it for you?
Do you enjoy having injections? Not, likely, you say. Well, how about voluntarily subjecting yourself to, not one, but multiple needle pricks, all in an attempt to relieve pain. If you think that only a masochist would allow such torture to his body, then you need to get up to scratch on acupuncture.
Acupuncture originated in China some 250 years before the birth of Christ. The Chinese found that the insertion of fine needles stimulated or calmed certain parts of the body. Specifically, acupuncture was discovered to have the following effects:
(1) Sedation: Prior to a tooth extraction, childbirth by Caesarean section or any number of medical procedures, acupuncture can sedate the patient without causing the none too pleasant side effects of vomiting and dizziness.
(2) Relaxation: After treatment the patient feels as if a weight has been taken off his shoulders. His muscles feel loose and relaxed, as if he has just had a fantastic deep tissue massage.
(3) Functional Modification: Muscular pain can be eased, if not eliminated, and functionally unhealthy conditions can be corrected.

Sound pretty good, so far? Want to give it a try? Or, are you still not able to get over the needle thing? Well, calm down ? it's not that bad. Really.
The acupuncture needles are, in fact, pleasantly unobtrusive. Although they vary in length from 5 to 7 centimetres, they are very fine. Made of silver or stainless steel, they have a thickness of just 0.1 millimetres. With a set of these tools and a metal guide tube the acupuncturist sets to work. Here's the routine he'll usually follow:
(a) As an aid to diagnosis he will take the patient's pulse. He will also feel to determine the hardness of the muscles. He will then ascertain where the origin of a patient's pain is.
(b) A needle will be inserted about an inch from the pain center. This will cause the nerves in that area to vibrate. Several smaller needles will be inserted around the same area.
(c) The acupuncturist will now use reflexology techniques to insert a needle in the foot such that the area affecting the pained muscle is affected.
(d) After treatment, the patient should rest for about 30 minutes before resuming with his day.

The actual insertion of the needles is a matter of precision. The needle is placed in a guide tube held in the acupuncturist's left hand. The guide tube is slightly shorter than the needle itself. The acupuncturist will now give a light tap with his right index finger and the needle is painlessly inserted into the skin at exactly the right spot.
So, just how does acupuncture work? Well, that is a secret that its Oriental practitioners are not ready to divulge. The closest to an explanation came from a life-long acupuncturist who said, "Acupuncture is simply our way of treating illness. The patient likes the personal touch that is sometimes regrettably missing in Western medical treatment. Through acupuncture we can ease pain and correct an unhealthy condition ? in other words, help one who is sick to regain reasonable health."
If you want to do just that, perhaps it's time you went under the needle.
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