Traditional Chinese Medicine is an entire medical system documented in China by the 3rd
century B.C. TCM is based on a concept of vital energy, or qi, that is believed to flow
throughout the body. Within the larger concept of the opposing forces of yin (dark) and
yang (light), qi and blood is what regulates a person’s spiritual, emotional, mental, and
physical balance. Disease occurs when the flow of qi is disrupted and yin and yang falls off balance. Among the components of TCM are herbal and nutritional therapy, qi gong/tai chi restorative physical exercises, meditation, a chinese form of massage called tui na, cupping, gua sha, acupressure, and most of all acupuncture.
Acupuncture is one of the most commonly used medical procedures in the
world. As a complex branch of ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) originating in
China more than 5,000 years ago, acupuncture became better known. President Nixon’s trip to China in 1972 helped acupuncture become more widely known in the United States. The term acupuncture describes stimulation of anatomical points on the body with thin, disposable, stainless steel needles that are manipulated by the hands of the practitioner or by electrical stimulation.
Acupuncture is one of the key components of the system of traditional Chinese medicine
(TCM). In the system of TCM, the body is seen as a delicate balance of two opposing and inseparable forces: Yin and Yang. Yin represents the cold, slow, or passive principle, while Yang represents the hot, excited, or active principle. Among the major assumptions in TCM are that health is achieved by maintaining the body in a “balanced state” and that disease is due to an internal imbalance of yin and yang. This imbalance leads to blockage in the flow of qi (vital energy) along pathways known as meridians. It is believed that there are 12 main meridians and 8 secondary meridians and that there are more than 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body that connect with them.
Stimulation of specific acupuncture points located near or on the surface of the skin
stimulates various sensory receptors that, in turn, stimulate nerves that transmit impulses to the brain. The brain is then responsible for releasing neurotransmitters and endorphins, the body's natural pain-killing hormones to achieve the desired effect. The substances released as a result of acupuncture not only relax the whole body, they regulate serotonin in the brain which plays a role in human and animal disposition. This is why depression is often treated with acupuncture.
Some of the physiological effects observed throughout the body include increased
circulation, decreased inflammation, relief from pain, relief of muscle spasms and
increased T-cell count which stimulates the immune system.
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