Benefits of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an art of healing where very fine needles are introduced into the skin for curing a disease at quite definite spots called acupuncture points. The usual inference that could be drawn from this is that it might be a very painful procedure, but the reality is just contrary to it. The needle prick is hardly as painful as an ant-bite.

Acupuncture points are definite spots on the human body. Picture shows acupuncture points
UB·1 (JingmingJ GB -1(TongziliaoJ St·1(ChengqiJ)  LI-4 (Hegu) on the face and hand of a child.

The acupuncture points are about 700 in number and they have their definite places on the body-surface. Most of the acupuncture points fall in the pathway of the regular channels (or meridians) through which the vital energy chi flows on the surface and inside the body, but many of them are situated beyond the pathway of the channels in other different places in the body. In disease when the balance of yin and yang, which should always be in equilibrium, is disturbed, these tiny spots (acupuncture points) are needled and it is believed that this process brings back the disturbed balance of yin and yang into equilibrium. It is not always that needles are used, but there are other methods of acupuncture used in day-to-day practice as follows:

  1. With needles
    a. By using hand manipulation for stimulation.
    b. By using elect rical stimulation.
    c. By applying heat to the needles.
  2. Moxibustion
    By using heat of moxa rolls and moxa powder on acupuncture
    points.
  3. Acupressure Massage on acupuncture points.
Acupressure is a form of hand stimulation which can be used for the treatment of various common ailments. Picture shows the acupuncturist giving acumassage to release mental tension.

How Acupuncture Works

The logical question at this time is: ‘How does acupuncture work? This is not an easy question to be fully answered with the present knowledge about it. After several decades of dedicated research we know very little of how the normal nervous system functions in a healthy, let alone a diseased, body. Serious research on acupuncture commenced only a few years ago, and such a short period has been insufficient to unravel the entire mechanism of the complicated neurophysiological phenomenon which acupuncture evidently is. Part of the difficulty lies in the fact that acupuncture works in a great variety of ways in different disorders and its action must therefore be assumed to vary to some extent with each type of pathology. Nevertheless, many aspects of its actions are now being understood in ‘the light of recent research and those are being placed together in an attempt to solve the enigma.

First of all, it is necessary to be clear about what really happens when a very fine needle is inserted into an acupuncture point on the body surface. The effects observed are both subjective and objective. One of the subjective effects may be a slight pain at the point of needling, but with the use of proper techniques by a trained acupuncturist this is usually negligible. Another important subjective effect is appearance of a peculiar sensation which is called dequi in Chinese. There is no exact equivalent for this term in English but it is usually translated as “taking’ Dequi“.is a combination of slight soreness, heaviness, numbness and distention.

Effects of Acupuncture

As regards the objective effects produced by needling, six different effects are recognized.

Analgesic (Pain killing) Effect

This is brought about by lowering of the pain in the different parts of body. This is the physiological basis of acupuncture anesthesia and also explains how acupuncture is able to relieve the pain of arthritis, toothache, headache, backache and other painful disorders. Some acupuncture points are more effective in this respect than others. This is an example of what is called the specificity of acupuncture points.

Sedative Effect

Some people may even fall sleep during treatment but wake up refreshed . It has been shown that there is a decrease in delta and theta wave activity on the electroencephalogram during acupuncture treatment. These effects are utilized in the acupuncture treatment of insomnia, anxiety states, addiction, epilepsy and behavioral problems.

Homeostatic Effect

This means adjustment of the internal environment of the body towards a state of proper balance. Normally homeostatism is maintained by balanced activity of the sympathetic and parasympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system and also by the glandular system. In addition there are numerous homeostatic mechanisms in the body for regulating the respiration, heart rate, blood pressure, urinary excretion, metabolic rate, sweating, temperature, etc. Ionic balance of the blood and many other parameters are seriously deranged in many diseases, and in such cases acupuncture has been found very helpful in restoring the original state of equilibrium. Very often the same set of points can be used for treatment for opposite conditions like high and low blood pressure, or diarrhea and constipation. These are examples of the homeostatic or normalizing action of acupuncture.

Immunity Enhancement

Under the acupuncture treatment body resistance to a disease is strengthened. This has been shown to be due to an increase in the white corpuscles (leucocytosis), antibodies, gammaglobulins and other biochemical substances which increase the resistive power of the body. In many cases a two-to four-fold increase in antibody titre has been observed, presumably brought about by activation of the reticuloendothelial system. Acupuncture is therefore very useful in controlling a large number of infections.

Effects on Motor Action

This is meant for motor recovery in patients who have been paralyzed due to one cause or another. Even late cases of motor paralysis respond well to acupuncture therapy despite previous failure with other systems of therapy. The explanation which is complex, apparently involves antidromic stimulation of the anterior horn, nerve cells are reactivated through a biofeed mechanism operating through the Renshaw and Cajal cells of the spinal cord or their cranial equivalents.

Tonification Effect

Acupuncture is quite effective in tonifying the body. The effects which are being achieved by prescribing various vitamins, proteins and anabolic steroids in cases like chronic illness, fatigue and old age can be produced by stimulating acupuncture points.

Psychological Effect

This has a calming and tranquilizing action apart from mere sedation.
“This is believed to be due to some action on the mid-brain. Measurable effects have also been reported on the metabolic chemistry of the brain tissue. For instance, there is an increase in the dopamine content of the brain after acupuncture. This may account for its effectiveness in certain mental disorders and in parkinsonism in which there is considerable depletion of the dopamine content of the brain.

Five Elements of Chinese Philosophy and Acupuncture

According to the traditional Chinese philosophy, yin and yang produced the five elements, and all matter was fashioned from these elements. It was further imagined that the elements must have their parallels in the human body. Wood, fire, earth, metal and water correspond to the liver, heart, spleen, lungs and kidneys, respectively. According to the Chinese medical theory they are the solid organs. Each solid organ has a corresponding hollow organ. They are, in order, the gall bladder, small intestine, stomach, large intestine and urinary bladder. Solid organs are yin, while hollow organs are yang in functions and characteristics.

  • Fire symbolises heart, small intestine, pericardium and triple warmer;
  • earth symbolises stomach and spleen;
  • metal stands for lung and large intestine;
  • water symbolises kidney and urinary bladder and
  • wood represents liver and gall bladder.
Five Elements and Organs

These five elements are constantly transformed into one another and there are two cycles of events in this process of transformation-the creative and the destructive cycles. According to the creative cycle earth forms metal, metal melts into water, water leads to the creation of wood, wood creates fire by burning, and fire gives rise to earth (ashes). According to the destructive cycle the metal cuts wood, wood eats earth, earth destroys water, water destroys fire and fire destroys metal.

Creative, Destructive and Interactive Cycles

The same principle is applied to the related organs in the body. The vital energy chi follows certain definite rules in respect of the direction, time and side of the body. According to one rule known as mother and son law, it flows from-mother to son and in sequence. The’ kidney is the mother of liver and liver is the mother of heart. Similarly according to other rule (husband-wife law) husband dominates over the wife;organs related to the husband are small intestine, heart, gall bladder, liver, urinary bladder, and kidney while those related to the wife are large intestine, lung, stomach, spleen, triple warmer and pericardium.

The flow of energy follows certain rules in relation to timing also . The rule pertaining to this is known as the mid-day, mid-night law. The circulation of energy is shown in a chart known as organ clock.

Organ Clock

The traditional Chinese concepts, which were supposed to be mere imaginations, received a strong support from the Kirlian photography of Russians and researches by Korean scholars. Kirlian photography is a Soviet invention made way back in 1939 by S.D. Kirlian and V. Kirlian. In this technique a living being is observed and photographed under high frequency and high voltage electrical fields. The photograph shows a halo and it is suggested that this halo is the energy flow of chi. The Korean scholars (Kim Bong Han and coworkers) have injected acupuncture points with a radio-isotope and watched its flow. They could demonstrate the flow of fluid in the path or meridians. Besides the age -old traditional Chinese theories, there are many modern theories also put forward by some master minds who have a grip of both the fields-the acupuncture and the modern medical science. This is an endeavor to explain the acupuncture effect in the light of modern medical science of physiology. The most important amongst many are the theories put forward by Anton Jayasuriya and Fernando (1977), Ronald , Melzack and Wall (1963) and Pameranz (1976). Anton Jayasuriya and Fernando have put forward the motor gate theory, Ronald Melzack and Wall have put forward gate control theory while Pomeranz has suggested the theory of endorphin release.

Yin & Yang – Chi as the Vital Force

The Chinese concepts about the processes of the human body, and the health and disease are different from modern, scientific concepts. According to them, religion and healing have been closely associated in most civilizations and it was believed that fire, sun, moon, water, storms, stars and clouds were outward manifestation of gods. The foundation of Chinese medicine is based on careful clinical observations and is presented in the framework of the concept of the basic forces Yin and Yang .

Negative and Positive

These two cosmic forces are the two basic principles around which every thing revolves. It appears that the universe was originally in a state of forceless primordial resting substance. To put it in the famous saying of Lao Tse “All things in the universe grow out of something, which itself grows out of nothing, the universe resolved into negative (yin) and positive (yang) forces.”

The resolution was such that these two forces balanced each other and the harmony existed in the entire universe. When the imbalance of these forces occurs, it leads to natural calamities like floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, etc. and the diseases in the human body. Though in balance, these forces are constantly interacting with each other and hence nothing in the universe is stable or ultimate.

Active and Passive

According to the Chinese philosophy yang means active and striving and yin means passive and yielding. Yin is female, cold and dark and yang is male, warm and bright. Yin is shade and yang is sun. Yang is active and yin is silent. Yin signifies every thing above the surface. As there is no truth without lies, no strength without weakness, no day without night, no virtue without vice and no good without bad, there cannot be yang without yin. They cannot exist without each other. And this one unit of yin and yang together is called the tao. There is always some yin in yang and always some yang in yin. The universe and the human body both follow the same set of principles. The same law of nature and the balance of yin and yang is essential for the existence of the healthy human body.

Yin and yang are the dual expressions of chi and are as important in medicine as in the Chinese theory of the universe; chi is what the Chinese call the motivating force behind all life. All matter is made of yin and yang, including every part of the human body. All nerves are either yin or yang.

Tao is the term given to primordial resting stage or the absolute zero which existed initially. From Tao, the “nothing” (absolute zero) becomes “something” by the primary act of asserting itself, and thus polarizes itself into yang and yin.

Chi as the Vital Force

Related Concept: 7 Chakra

The yin and yang are the two aspects of the chi energy. According to the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, the principle of yin and yang is the basic principle of the entire universe. Good health is the state of energy balance between these two and its upsetting results in a disease. They form the two opposite poles, negative and positive, and are complementary to each other. There are perpetual vibrations between them. Yang stands for male, sun, heavy, sharp, clean, upward direction, strength, warmth, dispersion, destruction and all that is positive. Yin stands for female, moon, earth, dirty, downward direction, quietude, cold, chronic, peace, harmony, endurance, debility, weakness and all that is negative.

It is further believed that yin is active within and acts as a guardian of yang. Yang is active on the surface and functions as regulator of yin. Yin stores up essence and yang protects it.

Chi is the vital motivating force behind all life and yin and yang are the dual expressions of chi. Chi comes into the body at birth and leaves it at death. During a person’s lifetime it flows in a specific and continuous pattern in the forms of yin and yang inside a system of channels called meridians into the human body. It permeates all living cells and tissues in the body. It is the invisible force responsible for all the movements of life. True chi comes’ from heaven and manifests as a living soul during birth. It is the main working force behind all the events of life and controls the functioning of the main acts of the organs and systems of the body. Whether it is the respiration, digestion or reproduction, it is the manifestation of chi. It permeates all living cells and circulates rhythmically in the body and a constant process of the transformation of air. food and water into the chi takes place throughout one’s life.

Historical Mixtures to Boost Libido and Sexual Potency

Normally, a healthy man has more sexual power and more sexual desire and need. For the purpose of preserving this sexual power, mankind has resorted to many remedies since the first ages of history. Young men have tried several remedies to prevent sexual exhaustion because of their overdose and to avoid the onset of old age. For male sexual impotence, he has always searched for the cure, while the woman avoided to be labeled as infertile and applied various remedies.

Ancient Love Syrups

These fears in men and women are spread all over the world, including more in the Orient. Because of these reasons, Orient has become the leader of the cradle of drugs and research as well as the art of cooking.

Mandragora (Ginseng)

Mandragora is the first plant to increase lust. Mandragora, harvest time is found in Europe and America. There is no hard part of this plant. It has a very wide root. The length of the root is up to one meter. The root is poisonous, but this root has entered the composition of many drugs. In ancient times, when people fell in love, they believed that these roots had a magical force.

Mandragora was a precious plant in the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. The Romans used the root of this herb to make love syrups. The authors at the time stated that this weed blunted the male’s sexual appetite and protected the woman from infertility by making the woman easily. (Mandragora officinarum) belongs to the family of potatoes. This plant is also found in Mediterranean countries. The body is short and has egg-shaped leaves on top. If the root is thin, there are two legs that are thick and forked. Fruits are orange-colored grapes. Due to the effects of emetic, emollient and drugs, this plant is very famous for its use in ancient times. At the same time, this was used in all areas of witchcraft.

According to the superstition of Europe, this plant grows under the death row and in a man hanged, the penis would cause awakening and semen discharge. Mandragora grass was formed from the sperm falling on the ground. According to other beliefs, the man’s urine has produced a similar result.

Satyrion (Orchis)

According to ancient Greek and Roman sex writers, it is the more famous Satyrion plant than Mandragora Grass. This must be the same as the Orchis plant. Orchis, which has been used extensively in the song, has been used as a medication for the fattening of the weak and is still used. As known, Orchis roots are collected in the fall. It is dried and boiled in water. It is then dried again and pulverized. Orchis is a nutritious food first of all because it contains a lot of starch. It is mixed with milk and drink with sugar in most of the countries of the Orient. If the ingredients such as ginger and cinnamon are also put on, it increases the appetite and increases the sexual power of the body. Here, at that time, the sex writers report that a species of Orchis, satyrion, has also raised sexual appetite. Women and men would retreat to their rooms and drink satyrion. Satyrion, when drunk, into the syrup is mixed with cantharides or poppy. Today, if you search hard enough, you may still encounter satyrion in one of your spice store’s dusty shelves. There are also tablets taken orally.

Greek and Roman Methods For Increasing Lust

There are many other methods in the Romans and Greeks to treat sexual insufficiency in men. The ancients mix the forged pepper into the nettle seed and keep this mixture in the drinks to increase the lust. Other than that; Onion, honey, cabbage, eggs and pineapple were among the foods that increased lust. The Greeks also praise shellfish and snail, especially as they characterize the onion as the main nutrient that increases lust. The local massage also raises lust in ancient Greek medical books. The essence of pomegranate tree branches increased sexual appetite.

There are many inclinations of love in those who eat bags of various animals, especially those who eat donkey testicles. Horace has written that bone marrow and liver dryness were among the substances that increased lust at that time. In addition, the intestines of various birds, fish and reptiles were among lust enhancing substances. Even semen and menstrual blood have been used in this regard. The deer’s semen was precious. Furthermore, the wolf and hedgehog penis was used to increase lust.

In the Romans, wine was undoubtedly precious. But they did not neglect the food to increase lust. Onions and snails were one of the leading foods. If we collect all of this: the Romans have attached great importance to the commitment between food and success in love and have paid attention to this.

Perfume for Increasing Lust

In the orient, perfume is a must. They spread the fragrance coming out of the mugwort , the oil and amber coming out of the palm cat, women into their nightgowns, their laundry, their hair, and even their whole body, and thus they increased the man’s lust. The Romans’ perfumes were very famous. Even the perfume shops of the Romans were secret deeds and meeting places for prostitutes. As many customers of cologne and essence entered these shops, they covered their faces in order to hide themselves. For this reason, the perfumes used by the rich layer were special perfumes manufactured in special laboratories. Women or men, who found a good essence, would call this essence in their own names.

History of Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been practised in some form or the other since the stone age when stone needles called bian were used by the ancient healers. In the iron and bronze ages needles of these metals were used to stimulate certain specific points on the body. The ancient Egyptians also had the knowledge of these points and used “prods” to spur the slaves on such spots to get tasks performed beyond the human physical capacity like the building of the pyramids, etc. The papyrus Ebers of 1550 preserved in the British Museum refer to a book on the subject of vessels which could correspond to the 12 meridians of acupuncture. Engravings in ancient caves of the South and Central America, which archaeologists attribute to the eras of Maya and Inca civilizations, depict women using sharp pins at strategic points to suppress the agony of child-birth.

The soldiers of the great General Hannibai used precise points of control on elephants to enable their invading armies to cross the Alps’. Specific veterinary points on the mammoth and mastodon, the precursors of the modern day elephant, have been found illustrated diagrammatically in some of the ancient texts. The Bantu tribes of South Africa were able to elicit acupuncture effect by scratching specific parts of the body with knives. The ancient Arabs used to cauterize parts of the ear for relief of the excruciating pain of sciatica which was common in the hot plains. Eskimos of the Tundras and the Nordic tribes used sharp stones and the icicles to alleviate pain and suffering due to frozen feet and frost-bite. This means that they recognized the vascularisation properties of acupuncture to revive the circulation of the hands and feet. Certain Brazilian tribes along the Amazon belt used to shoot sharp arrows from a blowpipe on to the disease-stricken point of the body. This could be categorized as the locus delenti use of acupuncture or acupuncture given at the site of the disease.

The ancient Chinese were the first to observe, record, and later put into practice this distant point acupuncture theory. It was noted in one instance that a soldier hit by an arrow in the ankle was suddenly cured of the severe headache with which he had been cursed with since his childhood. Similarly, an arrow at a point above the thigh and other similar observations have confirmed the acupuncture theory and the theory of energy channels in the body sponsored by the ancient Chinese.

Of course, attempts have been made through the ages by researchers, academicians and scientists to formulate theories regarding the working of acupuncture, which range from oversimplifications to bizarre hypotheses. For instance, some people have conceived the notion that some extra-terrestrial beings descended from the space to impart this wonderful power of healing to a select few. The school of thought sponsoring and propagating this notion is caned Evic Von Oeniken School, named after the chief originator of this idea. The origin of this science may continue to be a point of debate and discussion, yet the established and acknowledged fact remains that very different peoples having no geographic, ethnic, cultural or any other kind of affinity or kinship have been practicing it for years in different
ways.

Suchi Chikitsa

In ancient India, during the periods of Mohinjedero and Harappa civilisations, the treatment of diseases like hysteria and insanity was affected by placing red hot iron bars on sensitive areas of the abdomen, feet, hands and chest. The prevalence of myths about surgery and exorcism have overlooked the fact that but for the crude and barbaric methods of tortuous stimulation adopted at that time, these self-same acupuncture points are used for the same diseases with wonderful results even in the modern day practice. In the historical book Atharvaveda this therapy is described as “Suchi Chikitsa“, the oldest Indian treatise on the subject. The recently studied Ola manuscripts have a reference to the ‘needle science of Ishwara’. In it, 12,067 Nila of Command points are described for humans and animals. The Aryan invasion destroyed the Indus valley civilisation and the subsequent settlement of the Aryans in North India followed the Indus valley civilisation. The authenticated texts of that period when transcribed by herigraphical experts read that traditional treatment of snake bite involved acupuncture (blood letting from acupuncture points) and moxibustion (passage of heat through a metal probe punctured in the skin) to certain areas of the scalp and extremities.

Susruta and Charaka

The two most respected and revered healers in the annals of Indian history were Susruta and Charaka. Susruta, a surgeon of great eminence, lived 500 years before Christ in Banaras. Charaka, who has been labelled by the historians as the “Hippocrates of the Indian medicine”, was a physician of the second century AD. Both of them used acupuncture in its varied and diverse forms for the treatment of chronic diseases. This knowledge of the Indian sages was spread to the far and distant corners of the globe through the traditional silk and spice routes, as did Buddhism. According to Huang De Nei Jin Su Wan, a renowned philosopher of ancient China, “treatment using a needle qr flint had its origin in the regions of the west”.

Alpha and Omega

To the layman China is the “Alpha and Omega” of acupuncture, where traditionally this art as we know and recognise it today originated. This dogma has been in recent years questioned by several authorities and historians, as it is difficult to ignore the existence of this science in other civilisations at the same time. The great wall of China was built in the days gone by not only to keep the intruders out but also to keep knowledge within. History is strewn with accounts of Chinese wisemen travelling from their homeland to acquire knowledge, but strangely has no description of other civilisations visiting the ancient Chinese. Chinese had coined the pharse Tai Chien Hang-meaning to insert a golden needle-to describe acupuncture. Further, the Chinese were aided by the knowledge of pulse diagnosis which was orginally practised in Tibet. The adepts of the right hand path, as the Tibetan Lamas are called, had attained the knowledge of diagnosing the “thousand diseases” by feeling the superficial and deep pulses. Today in China the acupuncturist is a versatile man-applying his art of pulse diagnosis to establish the disease, using ancient Chinese philosophy to chalk out a regimen of treatment, and implementing it with acupuncture, moxibustion or cupping. It is held that though the Chinese developed and refined the art of acupuncture and built a monolith of knowledge and science, the origination of this science took place in other ancient civilizations.