Article By


S. Ramaswamy


IF there is an ancient medical science which has baffled humanity,  it is acupuncture.  Literally derived from the twin terms, acus means needle and puncture means puncturing the points.

It is the art of Chinese healing which is proably practised  most in the land of its origin. According to historical evidence it was current around 2600 B.C, under the Emperor Huang Ti and formed a part of the Tao Philosophy of the times.

To   quote      Aldous   Huxley,  “it   was  indeed strange that if a needle was stuck in one’s  foot, it improved the performance of one’s liver”. Amusingly enough,  it  was precisely this  kind of an  accident  which prompted  man  to  probe into this phenomenon.  For it is recorded that a random arrow shot at one part of a soldier’s body, actually controlled his illness in another affected part. Numerous  claims have been made by the Acupuncturists that ailments like Arthritis, Ulcers, Lumbago, Paralysis due to Polio, or Stroke, Bronchial  Asthma,  Mental  retardation, have yielded to an  implant  of a set of needles in the correct acupuncture points for varying periods of time. According to some physicians Migraine, Spondylo Arthritis, Piles, Hyper acidity, Peptic ulcers, alcohol addiction, drug addiction,  smoking,  and  many  other  ailments have responded considerably to acupuncture.

It  may  however be  stated  that  the  longer  the duration  of  the  disease, the  greater  would  be the time taken to bring about alleviation of the condition. The  basic principle  revolved around the  idea  of  Yin  and  Yang, a  concept  of  two dynamically opposite yet harmonising  energies in the universe which wax and wane rhythmically in the body. These two concepts could also be symbolic of  male  and  female, of  positive and negative source of energy.

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The   method   of   diagnosis   is  often   through the  pulse. The  feel of the  12 main  Meridians reflected in the radial artery which act as energy pathways.  By reading  the  pulse  correctly  any excess or depletion of energy would be reflected in the meridian and the nature of the disease also identified.

According to an ancient  Chinese belief certain areas of the skin develop an increased sensitivity as the  result  of a disease and  the  impairment of the organ affected. Hence the existence of a series of points   could be linked to an organic dysfunction during a specific illness. The number of such points have been estimated to range from 800 to over 1,000, as per different practitioners. The meridians acts as energy pathways through which  flowed  the  energy.  Health  remained in  good  shape  as long as energy flowed from the acupuncture  points in the body. When this balance was disturbed, disease and illness set in.

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The actual method of treatment  is the insertion of needles of different metals like stainless steel, silver, gold etc, for periods ranging from 10 to 30 minutes at a time. The procedure is entirely painless and  is in no  way akin to an ordinary injection  administered   intramuscularly.  There is no pain nor  any physical or mental reaction thereafter.  All normal  activity can be resumed except that  it  is  advisable to  rest  for  a  while after the session and avoid exposure to the sun for some time. As per the theory, the pricking action of the needles stimulates specific nerves which  in  turn  send  electrical impulses  to  the spinal  column,  the  lower  centre  of  the  brain and then   to the diseased area concerned. If the disease  requires  stimulation  gold  or  stainless steel needles are  used, and if sedation is needed, silver needles are used.

What has been a feature of still greater bafflement, has been the application of acupuncture  in the operation theatre for major surgeries, which should normally be done under total anaesthesia. Doctors  in  the  U.S have  witnessed first  hand diverse  operations  ranging  from  the  removal of Ovarian cysts to Thyroid  tumors,  all in the waking  presence  of  the  patients,  whose  age groups ranged from 25 to 65 yrs, while cheerful conversations were carried on with the surgeons who  went  about  their  jobs. It  was all ever so comfortable, informal and relaxed. According to modern  scientists acupuncture  needles activate ‘Encephalin’’, which acts as a natural anaesthetic in surgery.

There are many specialised branches in acupuncture therapy, namely Auricular acupuncture  in which, the diseases of any part of the body would be treated by puncturing TC- Apr 2016 - 036 - Acupuncture3the set of only auricular or ear points. Cosmetic and Laser acupuncture are the recent developments in the practise of acupuncture therapy. In cosmetic acupuncture,  tiny  needles called press  needles are used and in Laser acupuncture, Laser rays are used along with the needles on the points.

In my own experience as an acupuncturist, various diseases like Bronchial Asthma, alcohol addiction, Spondylo arthritis, hair fall and other stress related problems, have yielded very good results. Specially in the case of alcohol addicts who crave for alcohol, recovered fully without any withdrawal symptoms of addiction after a course of treatment for nearly three months, with a gap of 5 to 7 days per month. Of-course the willingness, co-operation  and  patience  of  the patient is of utmost importance, otherwise there will be negative results. Chronic cases like Bronchial Asthma also need longer duration  of acupuncture therapy, ranging from 3 to 6 months.

Hence  Acupuncture  therapy  is  also known  as ‘Drugless  therapy’  where  no  drugs  are  used and there is no fear of un-toward  or dangerous effects, which  are  commonly  associated  with modern medicine.


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