Looking young and beautiful is big business in the United States. Every year, tens of billions of dollars are spent by US citizens on botox injections alone. As more people in the US reach their 50’s, many of them especially women are looking for ways to look, feel and stay young. They buy food and vitamin supplements and cosmetics and undergo cosmetic surgery, botox injections and exercises designed to make them look more attractive and desirable and temporarily avert the impending symptomatic onset of old age.
We associate aging with the decline or breakdown in health, since we feel that our bodies are not as responsive to exercises and activities as they were before. The Chinese perspective, especially traditional Chinese medicine, on the other hand is entirely different. For them aging is a normal transition of life rather than a breakdown. The way you live and how you age when you reach your 40’s or 50’s are all the result of the way you lived before. Many factors are involved which can or cannot be controlled that influences how you look and how you feel in the later years. To better appreciate this way of thought, we should know what Essence means for the Chinese. Essence is a part of the body. It is a body substance that is responsible for a person’s maturation, development and growth. It is also the basis where other substances in the body come from. A person inherits his/her own unique essence upon conception. This is called Congenital Essence and besides maturation and growth, it also is responsible for one’s constitution and genetic traits. The Congenital Essence slowly depletes itself as we age until the point where it is completely exhausted; when it is all used up, we die. Congenital Essence cannot be renewed but it can be enhanced by another essence; Acquired Essence.
Acquired Essence is composed of the food we eat and the more nutrients we consume the better the acquired essence we have. Every good thing we do for our body which translates to high energy level, strength and good health adds to our acquired essence. Any surplus of acquired essence is stored and kept in the Kidney, which is also where Congenital Essence is stored.
When we refer to the Kidney in the standpoint of TCM, it generally means a system of functioning, not the organ itself. The Kidney generates fertility, maturation and growth in the body and also controls the growth of the bones and teeth. It is also associated with hearing and the ear. The slow consumption of Essence manifests itself in our aging and the signs that go with it (memory weakness, confusion, hearing loss, loss of teeth, brittle and weak bones and energy loss).
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Acupuncture can immediately elicit an image of a person whose face and body is riddled with thin needles. Of course this will generate horror in some people who imagine the pain of patients with needles stuck in their bodies. Reality is entirely different. Acupuncture which is an ancient Chinese healing method is a quite painless procedure, quite different from needles used for vaccination or for blood drawing. The needles stimulate the nervous system which generates physiological changes that are beneficial to the health of the person. This treatment can effectively relieve ailments such as fatigue and chronic pain.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) views a person’s good health dependent on the free normal flow of vital force which the Chinese called chi all over the body. Chi travels throughout the body using energy pathways called meridians or ley lines. The meridians are believed to lie near the skin and chi flow can be redirected or controlled by non-hollow, filiform and sterile needles inserted on points connected to the meridians called acupuncture points or acupoints.
These theories may be seen as absurd to self-styled experts of Western medical science. The meridians and chi are concepts that are not evident to the eyes and are not included in the western human anatomy diagram and in biology. Nevertheless, the meridians and chi which are the foundation of the acupuncture treatment are studied by acupuncturists and the knowledge of chi and the meridians are used to effectively many types of disorders. Acupuncture, Western researchers argue somehow stimulates the nervous system to produce and release beneficial chemicals that remove pain and help the body heal itself.
There are very small risks if there are at all entailed in acupuncture treatment. This modality is a natural form of treatment and does not use any kind of pharmaceutical medications (this is the traditional type of acupuncture as opposed to medical acupuncture which integrates medication along with smaller and thinner acupuncture needles). The risks, if they arise include infections, light bleeding, bruises and small injuries.
In order to get the best acupuncture treatment, be sure to select a licensed acupuncturist or one certified by a government agency. In the United States this would be the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
As mentioned before the biggest setback for acupuncture is people’s fear of needles. People in the United States hate pain and are not really that excited to undergo a treatment that uses needles to treat their sickness. However, for people who have overcome their fear and have tried acupuncture report a slight tingling sensation or even no sensation at all as the needles are inserted into their skin. All the patient’s fear of needles disappear on the first session.
Because the typical American diet is not really that balanced or healthy, a large amount of digestive problems are recorded consistently every year. The use of standard medications sometimes may not resolve these problems and some people look for other ways, sometimes unconventional ways to find treatment. One of the more unconventional forms of treatment is acupuncture that is used as a solution for various kinds of disorders that conventional medicine cannot satisfactorily address.
Acupuncture is the ancient Chinese medicinal art of using needles introduced at acupuncture points or acupoints in the body to treat an ailment. It began in China around 5,000 years ago and works to establish energy balance and good blood flow to attain homeostasis, normalize bodily functions and promote vitality, relaxation and comfort enabling the body to be in overall good health.
Traditional Chinese medicine or TCM considers the spleen as the main organ that governs gastrointestinal function. TCM sees the spleen as the conveyor of food in the body and also governs the removal of waste in the body. To have a well functioning gastrointestinal function, the body should have a balance of energy between the stomach and spleen since an imbalance between the two will cause one or both to dysfunction. A dysfunction of one or both these organs may also affect the function of the liver and cause the liver energy to also become imbalanced.
Acupuncture helps to reestablish energy balance and proper blood flow in the gastrointestinal system. This is accomplished by determining the acupuncture points that lead to the liver, stomach and spleen meridians and insert these points with filiform needles to enable blood and energy (chi) to flow freely and provide proper energy and blood to these organs. The needles help stimulate gastrointestinal muscle contraction that regulates the production of gastric acid and allow the stomach and spleen to lessen the stress and pressure in the gastrointestinal system to help relax and relieve other digestive symptoms.
Acupuncture to treat digestive disorders is often combined with Chinese herbal medicine although acupuncture as a stand alone treatment can suffice to treat the problem. You need to go to a qualified herbologist when dealing with herbs as there are herbs that neutralize the effects of acupuncture or if you are taking medications may react negatively with them causing you more problems.
Here are some of the digestive disorders which can be treated with acupuncture:
- Inflammatory disorders( ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
- Hiatal hernia
- Gastrointestinal bleeding and infections
- Bacterial infections
Medications carry substances that negatively react to the body causing side effects. Prolonged used of certain medications can even permanently impair the liver and kidney. Because acupuncture does not use any medications in its treatment makes it a better and safer alternative to pharmaceutical medications.