What is Medical Acupuncture? Is it Different from Ordinary Acupuncture?

How many kinds of Acupuncture are there?

Some people like to classify the practice of acupuncture by their origin or school of theory, such as TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, French, etc. Some people like to classify acupuncture based on the technique or specific areas of needling, such as scalp acupuncture, Korean hand acupuncture, auricular acupuncture (ear acupuncture), hand acupuncture, abdominal acupuncture, face acupuncture, eye acupuncture, nose acupuncture, etc.  

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a medical treatment that has been used by the Chinese for thousands of years. The practice of acupuncture is based upon the unique medical theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which are very different from those of Western medicine. One of the most distinctive differences is the concept of the major meridians. According to TCM theory, the human body is connected and operates through the network of 14 major meridians that run lengthwise throughout the body. These meridians behave like rivers, sending body becomes ill when there is a "blockage" in the "river" - the meridian. 

Acupuncture is the practice of inserting needles at certain points alone the meridians, the remove the "blockage" -- to re-establish the normal flow of Qi -- so the body can resume normal functioning. When Qi is balanced within meridians of the body, the body is will be in the harmonious state and we will enjoy good health. In face, what acupuncture does is bring back the natural healing power of the body. 

What is the scope of Medical Acupuncture?

What causes Qi to get blocked?

Physical or emotional strain, trauma, stress, lack of exercise, overexertion, seasonal changes, poor diet, accidents, excessive activity, or weakness all can lead to blockages of Qi. Normally, when blockages occur, your body can bounce back easily, returning to balance and health. But when the disruption of Qi goes on for too long or is excessive, or if your body is in a weakened state, disease can set in and cause disruption in the normal flow of Qi. 

Medical acupuncture is a system which addresses three areas of health care:

  • promotion of health and well-being
  • prevention of illness 
  • treatment of various medical conditions

While acupuncture is very often associated with pain control, in the hands of a well-trained practitioner, it can treat many other conditions. Acupuncture can be effective as the only treatment used, or as the support to other medical treatments in many disorders.

The World Health Organization recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of medical problems, including (But not limited to):

  • Digestive disorders: gastritis and hyper-acidity, spastic colon, constipation, and diarrhea. 
  • Respiratory disorders: sinusitis, sore throat, bronchitis, asthma, recurrent chest infections.
  • Neurological and muscular disorders: headaches, facial tics, neck pain, rib neuritis, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, various forms of tendonitis, low back pain, sciatica, osteoarthritis.
  • Urinary, menstrual, and reproductive problems.

Acupuncture is particularly useful in resolving physical problems related to tension, stress, and other emotional conditions.  

It is important to understand a little background information about the TCM view of the body so you won't be confused by an acupuncturist who tries to explain your problem using TCM terminology. TCM sees the human body in a qualitative way, as opposed to the western quantitative way. The understanding of organ systems is very different in TCM and western medicine.

For example, an acupuncturist may explain that your condition is a result of a "liver meridian imbalance."  This doesn't mean there will be some abnormality in the way your liver works or in laboratory results of liver function tests, the way we usually would consider liver disease according to Western Medicine. In the TCM view, it means that there is a disruption of the flow of Qi in the meridian named for the liver, and this is the basis on which acupuncturist will design your treatments.    

What is Qi?

In TCM, Qi is a "force" or "energy" that is necessary to carry nutrients or essences to different areas of the body to maintain proper body functions. Qi travels through 14 major meridians, and each meridian is linked to an organ system.

There are 12 organ systems in TCM, which are: kidney, urinary bladder, liver, gall bladder, heart, small intestine, triple warmer, pericardium, spleen, stomach, lung, and large intestine.   

What is the best Acupuncture?

The best acupuncture is the one that works! Sometimes, an acupuncturist may combine different kinds of acupuncture techniques in one session. For example, Dr. Loh often uses body acupuncture (TCM acupuncture) combined with ear points (auricular acupuncture), and some points from the theories of hand acupuncture to produce a synergistic healing effect. 

Acupuncture is a very old medical art, and there are many approaches to learning and practicing it. Medical acupuncture is the term used to describe acupuncture performed by a doctor trained and licensed in Western medicine who has also had thorough training in acupuncture as a specialty practice. Such a doctor can use either approach, or a combination of both as the need arises, to treat an illness. Type your paragraph here.