A subject that is abundant with information – it can be an overwhelming experience; where does one start? Fortunately, I went to school to learn about this- that is, Chinese and Japanese traditional medical practices, so initially I had been given focused direction. The information that might be found in English about Chinese medicine, alone, covers 60 some odd-years worth (plus sporadic English translations of older Chinese texts). If you can read Chinese, then you would have at least 2,000 years worth of articles, books, and tomes to look at. Wondrous, isn’t it?
However, my intention isn’t meant for you to only consider Chinese medicine. What about Japan, Korea, Tibet, or Taiwan, to name a few countries (many more, esp. in southeast Asia, that are not listed), such that each respective culture might have countless lineages of medical thought and practice, which are thousands of years old? To add to the complexity, they either are diverging far away from or dovetailing close to one another.
With the hope to keep things simple for now, and if you are interested to further research acupuncture and East Asian medicine, I would recommend the following websites as a starting place:
- The World Health Organization’s website provides scientific research findings on what kinds of diseases and health conditions acupuncture has been shown to help: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/en/d/Js4926e/5.html
- Three more websites with plentiful information on Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine:
- I would also refer you to a fellow practitioner’s website, which is chock-full of good stuff. Michael Max, an acupuncturist in St. Louis, shares insightful tidbits, resourceful links, and witty anecdotes on acupuncture, Chinese medicine, and more.
To be certain, this is only one way to start learning about acupuncture and East Asian medicine. What you will soon find is how divergent different forms of the medicine are from one another. Let me know what you think of the ones I have listed, and I’ll soon add more. Enjoy!
WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE?
[some thoughts….The following short statements welcome longer discourse.]
Acupuncture affects cellular metabolism, thereby influencing the structures of the body, both superficial and deep. An acupuncturist uses sterilized, stainless steel needles which are inserted into specific points located on the surface of the skin.
Consider the body like a geographical landscape, whereupon precise locations on the surface function like caves, or openings, connecting the outer part of the body to channels, also called meridians. These channels access the internal organs deep within the body.
Qi is the dynamic life force that can be regulated with the careful manipulation of the needles. The movement of the qi can reach far across the surface as well as deep into the internal organs via the channels, which act like waterways moving through the body.