Acupuncture-Ancient Chinese Wisdom

acupunctureIt is uncertain exactly when acupuncture began to be used as a treatment for illness, but hieroglyphs and pictographs have been found dating back to the Shang Dynasty 1600-1100 BC. In the second century BC, stone and bone needles were replaced with metal. The earliest written record of acupuncture dates to 200 BC in the Yellow Emperors Inner Canon. In Europe, examination of a 5000 year old mummified body contained 15 groups of tattoos, some of which were located on areas now seen as acupuncture points. Acupuncture is based on the premise that the body contains 12 major meridians and 8 minor meridians or channels in the body, that correspond to the major organs and tissues. Energy or Qi flows through each of these meridians, and any disruption in this energy flow is believed to be responsible for the development of disease states. Acupuncture is a family of procedures designed to correct imbalances in energy flow in the meridians by stimulation of specific anatomical points on the body on or under the skin. The most common mechanism of stimulation is the use of very thin acupuncture needles that penetrate the skin. The primary acupuncture points are found at specific locations along the meridians, secondary points are outside of the major meridians and have specific therapeutic properties, and a 3rd type of acupuncture point called “Ah-shi” have no fixed location but represent extra points that can be used in the treatment of pain. In modern times, there are 670 points as well as points in the ear that are also used. In traditional Chinese medicine, disease is perceived as disharmony or imbalance between Yin and Yang and/or interactions between the body and the environment. Treatment is based on identifying patterns of disharmony, and in the meridians invasions with wind, cold, heat, and damp cause imbalances. In order to determine which patterns are affecting the patients health, pulse, tongue, and general appearance of the body are analyzed, along with other signs such as sound of the voice, appearance of the skin, quality of breathing, smell of the breath, and appearance of the eyes. Chills and fever, thirst, taste, defecation, urination, pain, sleep, perspiration, appetite, and menstruation are all important factors in Chinese diagnosis. As well, physical signs seen on the body such as blood pressure, skin sensation, tender points, and pulses on both sides are important. In traditional Chinese medicine, the concept of disease does not differentiate between cause and effect, however there are internal, external and miscellaneous factors that are considered in making a Chinese diagnosis. Acupuncture treatments are highly individualized based on philosophy, intuition, signs, symptoms, and patterns, and not on controlled scientific research. A typical session can last from 10-60 minutes, and involves a consultation, history taking, physical examination, and needling of appropriate acupuncture points on the body, and ears. Acupuncture can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions, and is very helpful in smoking cessation, pain management, anxiety and depression, relaxation, musculoskeletal issues, menstrual problems, neurological problems, and stroke rehabilitation. It has also been used very effectively as an adjunct in addictions. There is a large body of research showing that acupuncture is effective in treating migraines and other types of headaches, neck disorders, joint arthritis, and different types of pain. It is also used to treat various heart problems, acute back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, nausea and vomiting, and fertility and childbirth issues. Dr Maureen has been doing acupuncture for over 18 years in her naturopathic practice. To book your acupuncture appointment with Dr Maureen, call 613-476-5444 or email me at


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