To inform my audience about what happens during acupuncture, how it works, what it can treat, and its use in Western culture. Central IdeaAcupuncture is the insertion of needles into the skin that can improve the flow of energy, can treat a wide range of medical conditions, and is being used combination with Western medicine. Pattern of OrganizationTopical Introduction Six months ago, my 78-year-old grandmother was quickly losing her independence. Severe arthritis in both knees hampered her ability to take care of herself. Shopping, getting around the neighborhood, even walking down her front steps was becoming almost impossible. Pain medications helped somewhat, but the side effects created their own problems. Then her doctor suggested acupuncture. My grandmother was skeptical at first, but she was willing to try just about anything. She did and the results were miraculous. After six weeks, her pain and stiffness were significantly reduced. She was able to take care of her apartment again. She could get out on her own to go shopping, to visit friends and family, and to do the other things her arthritis had prevented in the past. Acupuncture restored her quality of life and her independence. My grandmothers story is not unique.
Performed for well over 2, 000 years in China and other parts of Asia, acupuncture is becoming more and more popular in the U. S. and other Western countries for one simple reason. It works. Impressed by my grandmothers experience, I began acupuncture treatments for my migraine headaches, and now the headaches are completely gone. Not surprisingly, I wanted to know more about this treatment that produced such miraculous results for both my grandmother and myself. Today I will share part of what I have learned by explaining what happens when you receive an acupuncture treatment, how acupuncture works, the kinds of medical conditions that can be treated by acupuncture, and the growing use of acupuncture in combination with Western medical techniques. Lets start by looking at a typical acupuncture treatment. Body Acupuncture is the insertion of needles into the skin to achieve a balanced flow of energy, which in turn restores and preserves health. Acupuncturists in the United States use sterilized needles that are individually packaged and are disposed of after a single use.
The needles are so thin that the process is essentially painless. Acupuncture needles are much smaller than the needles used for drawing blood or getting shots. Here are some needles I received from my acupuncturist and will pass around after my speech. They are so thin that you can hardly tell when they are inserted. There is usually no sensation other than pain relief once they have been inserted. After being left in for 20 to 30 minutes while you lie in a darkened room, the needles are removed and your treatment is over. Transition Now that you know what happens when you are treated by an acupuncturist, youre probably wondering how acupuncture works. Acupuncture works by improving the flow of energy in the body. The process is explained by Dr. Felix Mann in Acupuncture The Ancient Chinese Art of Healing and How it Works Scientifically. Traditional Chinese medicine holds that every life process is based on the flow of vital energy through the body. This energyknown in Chinese as qiflows along channels or pathways called meridians. The meridians cover the entire body, running from the top of the head to the bottom of the feet and down both arms.
When the free flow of energy through these meridians is blocked, the result is pain, illness, disease, or other physical problems. The aim of acupuncture is to restore the open flow of energy through the meridians. This is done by placing the needles at specific points on the meridians. Altogether there are more than 1,000 acupuncture points on the meridians. In China there is a saying There is no pain if there is free flow if there is pain, there is no free flow. The evidence is clear that acupuncture works in treating a wide range of medical conditions. The World Health Organization lists more than 40 conditions that can be effectively treated with acupuncture. A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine confirms that acupuncture relieves low-back pain. The American Cancer Society reports that acupuncture may help smokers kick their habit. People also use acupuncture to build the immune system, to control allergies, and to combat depression and anxiety. You cant use acupuncture to heal a broken arm, but people in Asia often use it during surgery instead of Western anesthesia, and it can speed recovery time after surgery.
A number of clinics and hospitals are combining acupuncture with Western medicine to provide their patients the benefits of both. Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston has added acupuncture to its wellness center. Dr. Lonnie Zeltzer of the Mattel Childrens Hospital at UCLA says that acupuncture really does help. Most children accept acupuncture, and in fact, really feel good about it. Neurologist Allan Gordon, Director of the Wasser Pain Management Center at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada, says that adding acupuncture to the hospital expands the treatment available to chronic pain sufferers and provides multiple options for care to our patients. The National Institutes for Health report that more than 8 million Americans have tried acupuncture, and its use throughout the rest of the Western world is growing fast. Conclusion Today we have learned what happens during an acupuncture treatment, how acupuncture works, some of the illnesses that can be treated with acupuncture, and the growing integration of acupuncture with Western approaches to medicine. I hope that you now know more about this ancient medical practice and the benefits it can provide. After years of skepticism about acupuncture, the West is finally beginning to recognize that acupuncture is a highly effective way to improve health and to reduce pain and suffering. Just ask my grandmother.
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