Acupuncture: Old Medicine for a New Generation

Acupuncture can help just about everyone, regardless of what their health problem is. A lot of people think of acupuncture and Chinese medicine as a new form of healing, but it is actually over 5,000 years old. It is one of the oldest systems of medicine in the world, and they’ve had a long time to observe what works and what doesn’t work.

Acupuncturists treat patients using thin filament needles and supplementing with traditional Chinese herbal formulas in either a raw decoction, granules or teapills (which look like small brown pills). The Chinese system of medicine is based on observation and common sense - if a treatment doesn’t work, they don’t continue it. Their system of treatment progresses from less invasive to more invasive. They start with diet and exercise, and if these approaches don’t solve the problem, then herbs and acupuncture are used to get to the root of the problem, and not just treat symptoms. Each person is interviewed about their issues from head to toe, then diagnosed with a “pattern” not a disease. By treating this pattern, acupuncturists can treat the individual and the unique way the patient expresses disease, instead of giving everyone with the same “disease” the same treatment and getting individual results. For example, in Chinese medicine, there are three different patterns of “wasting and thirsting” disorder that correspond to the western disease of diabetes.

These three patterns can be divided in the Upper, Middle and Lower Jiaos (think upper, middle or lower body). So the acupuncturist would diagnose the pattern depending on where the diabetic symptoms concentrate, then treat accordingly. That does not mean, however, that diseases like diabetes should be treated with acupuncture alone. Healthcare works best when it is a blend of modalities tailored to what the patient needs. Chinese medicine excels at treating chronic conditions and is an excellent adjunct to western medicine, however, many medical conditions still need to be monitored by western medical doctors.

Neither east nor west is best, but by treating from both directions the patient can be steered towards better health and greater balance.

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