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Acupuncture: Finding A Home In America

2848 words - 12 pages

Acupuncture: Finding a Home in America"Acupuncture has stood the test of time through twenty-five hundred years, twelve Chinese dynasties, and hundreds of millions of patients," states the founder of the first American school of acupuncture ("Acupuncture" 54). Scientific research is now proving that acupuncture, for years a myth explained only by Chinese culture, is an effective medical practice in the United States. This idea, along with newly found and scientifically-proven benefits of acupuncture, are causing doctors and scientists to take a second look at this "original Chinese practice of puncturing the body . . . at specific points to cure disease or relieve pain . . ." as a possible ...view middle of the document...

Through centuries of study, this former witch doctor's trick evolved into acupuncture, going hand in hand with the Eastern religion Taoism and the Chinese philosophy of the yin and yang.The whole basis for acupuncture can be found in a book written over two thousand years ago by heroic Chinese leaders, emperor Huang Ti, and physician Qi Po (8). This Bible/how-to-book on acupuncture is titled The Yellow Emperor's Book of Internal Medicine and is written down as a conversation between its two authors. The book instructs on how to use acupuncture and explains how it is tied in with the Chinese religion of Taoism, meaning 'the way,' and the two forces that make up the world (8).These two forces are the yin, viewed as the passive, negative, soft and dark element; and the yang, the active, positive, outgoing and light element. Though different in characteristics, these two elements compliment one another. They are believed to keep the balance of the world, which in the body is called Qi, after acupuncture's founding physician. The yin and yang are depicted in a symbol which is a sphere split down the middle in an 's' curve. The one half, yin, is filled in black and the other, yang, is white. Each half has a dot, or 'germ' in Taoist terms, of the other half in it, symbolizing the two forces' ability to at any time infect the other half, thus bringing disharmony. This sign symbolizes that though the yin and yang forces are separate in purpose, they together make up a whole to keep the balance of the world. When either the yin or yang becomes more dominant than the other, the harmony is lost, and either the body becomes afflicted or the globe witnesses natural disaster and environmental imbalance (8).To regain this balance, acupuncture is used. After a thorough examination, the acupuncturist decides where the imbalance in the patients Qi is. Once deciding where the imbalance is, it is than decided what acupuncture points to use. In total, nearly two thousand acupuncture points exist on the human body, 365 of which lie on the meridians, the rest nearby ("Acupuncture" 55). In Chinese beliefs, these meridians are connected from one area of the body to another (55). Despite the fact that both the Americans and the Chinese use the same points, which lie on the same meridians, only the Chinese philosophy defines what meridians are (Time-Life 47). The Chinese look at the meridians as the body's life flow through which the Qi runs. A blockage in the meridians causes sickness and affliction. When placing a needle into a point of the external part of the meridian, an opposite part of the body linked internally will be healed. This allows the Qi to again flow freely and restore health to the patient (47-48). In American studies, doctors have been unable to find any pattern in the meridians, which do not seem to follow nerve pathways and differ from anabolic structure ("Acupuncture" 55).These meridians do, however, relate with the yin and yang (Time-Life 47)....

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