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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Acupuncture and Moxibustion

According to ancient Chinese medical records and archaeological findings, the primitive Chinese people used bianshi (stone pierces), the earliest acupuncture instrument, to treat diseases. Afterward, with the further development of the society, bone needles and bamboo needles replaced stone ones. Then the development and improvement of metal casting techniques brought about metal medical needles, such as bronze, iron, gold and silver ones. Ancient Chinese doctors used nine kinds of needles: the round needle, the blunt needle, the three-edge needle, the sword needle, the round sharp needle, the long needle, the large needle, and the arrowhead needle. At present, stainless steel needle are widely used.Acupuncture and moxibustion, as two important methods of treatment, form an indispensable part of traditional Chinese medicine.
Both these two methods of treatment are based on the theory of points and the theory of jing and luo. A point means a specific spot on the body surface at which acupuncture or moxibustion is applied to evoke a certain reaction in some regions or viscera so as to produce therapeutic effects. According to the theory of jing and luo, stimulating certain points along the jing and luo by inserting needles can cure a disorder of the circulation of qi.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese method of treating disease or relieving pain by inserting one or more metal needles at a certain point or certain points of the human body. An acupuncturist usually pays due attention to the basic techniques including the way the needle is inserted' rapidly or slowly, the depth of the insertion, the length of time the needle should be left in the body, and the number of needles required for the treatment.
Moxibustion, another effective therapy, was discovered by ancient people when they sat down around a fire. They found that the heat not only kept them warm but also relieved certain physical pains. Then they started to use Moxa leaves for the same purpose. Today, in the treatment Moxa leaves are ignited over certain points on the skin's surface.
Acupuncture and moxibustion have many advantages. First, they are applicable in various kinds of diseases and suit therapeutic needs in internal medicine, surgery, gynecology, as well as in preventive medicine. Second, they produce prompt and appreciable cures; increase resistance to disease by providing stimulation at certain points, and stop pain. Third, they are easily practiced and mastered. Furthermore, they produce no or slight side effects, are generally safe, and can be applied together with other therapies.
Acupuncture and moxibustion play an important role not only in advancing Chinese medical science, but also in promoting medical and health science of the whole world.
The development of navigation after the l0th century resulted in the rapid development of China' s foreign trade and exchanges with other countries. Acupuncture and moxibustion were among the Chinese techniques taken to those countries. Many countries took up these techniques in their clinical practice and research.


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