Acupressure and Acupuncture
Acupuncture has been practiced for over 4,000 years. It involves the insertion of very fine needles, sometimes in conjunction with electrical stimulus, on the body’s surface to influence the functioning of the body. (In addition, a non-invasive method of massage therapy, called Acupressure, can also be effective.)
The first record of Acupuncture is found in the 4,700 year old Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, the oldest medical textbook in the world. It is said to have been written down from earlier theories by Shen Nung, the father of Chinese medicine. As the basis of Acupuncture, Shen Nung theorized that the body has an energy force field running throughout known as Qi (pronounced Chee). Qi consists of all essential life activities which include the spiritual, emotional, mental and the physical aspects of life. Health is influenced by the flow of Qi in the body, in combination with the universal forces of Yin and Yang, the passive and active principles of life.
If the flow of Qi is insufficient, unbalanced or interrupted, Yin and Yang become unbalanced, and illness may occur. Qi travels through the body along "Meridians" or special pathways. The Meridians, (or Channels), are paired and symmetrical There are 14 main meridians running vertically up and down the surface of the body. Of these, there are twelve paired organ Meridians in each half of the body and two unpaired midline Meridians. Acupuncture points are specific locations where the Meridians come to the surface of the skin, and are easily accessible to the needle. The connections between them ensures that Qi flows in a balanced manner. Energy constantly flows up and down these pathways. When pathways become obstructed, deficient, excessive, or just unbalanced, Yin and Yang are out of balance and this causes illness. The purpose of acupuncture and acupressure is to restore the balance and thus favorably influence health.
Qi is prevalent throughout nature and is comprised of two parts, Yin and Yang. These are opposite forces that when balanced work together. Upset in the balance results in natural calamities, in nature, and disease in humans. Yin is signified by female attributes: passive, dark, cold, moist, that which moves medially, and deficient of Yang. Yang is signified by male attributes: light, active, warm, dry, that which moves laterally, and deficient of Yin. Nothing is completely Yin or Yang. The most striking example of this is found in humans. A person is the combination of his mother (Yin) and his father (Yang). He contains qualities of both: This is the universal symbol describing the constant flow of Yin and Yang forces. Within Yin, there is Yang, and within Yang, there is Yin.
Acupuncturists can use as many as nine types of Acupuncture needles, though only six are commonly used. These needles vary in size and shape. and they are disposable. They are used once and discarded in accordance with medical biohazard regulations and guidelines.