Acupuncture – An Alternative Healing Medecine

Acupuncture is becoming a popular  alternative health care with roots to traditional medicine originating in China more than 5,000 years ago. With years of proven results, acupuncture is regarded as one of the most common and oldest natural health care treatments known to man.

Acupuncture is one of several popular alternative therapies tracing its roots to Chinese traditional holistic medicine of more than 5,000 years ago. Although the treatment is regarded as one of the most common and oldest worldwide, acupuncture only started to become recognized in the US after New York Times journalist James Reston wrote a feature on how his post-surgery pain was eased by doctors in China in 1971 using the procedure.

The Evolution Of Acupuncture

The treatment assumes something called qi (pronounced key) – energy in living beings that passes through twelve meridians or invisible energy lines within the body. Each line links to a specific organ system; the belief is that any imbalance in qi flow leads to a disease. The key component of acupuncture treatment is the insertion of needles into key points on the meridian lines to renew balance. These extremely thin, metallic needles are aimed at specific anatomical points and controlled manually or by electrical stimulation. An individual usually feels relaxed and energized after acupuncture.

Modern Treatment

The US Food and Drug Administration reclassified acupuncture needles as medical devices in 1997, from the earlier classification as experimental. The Administration notes that over $500m is spent by people throughout the world every year for the acupuncture treatment, for which a good number secure insurance coverage. The agency’s main restriction for needles is that they be non-toxic, sterilized and that they be used only once.

– Acupuncture is endorsed by the National Institute of Health
– Is practiced by dentists, doctors and other health practitioners

Increasing Acceptance

Increasing acceptance of acupuncture was highlighted by the National Health Interview Survey in 2002, which indicated that the number of American adults turning to the treatment surged from 2.1 million in 2001 to about 8.2 million the following year. The interest in acupuncture also received a boost from individuals that express dissatisfaction of conventional medicine for some health problems.

Why does acupuncture work?

How Does Acupuncture Work?Acupuncture reportedly induces the release of endorphins in the body, relieving an individual from pain. Other effects attributed to the therapy include influence over neurotransmitters, or substances transporting nerve impulses; promotion of circulation; and effects over the body’s electrical currents and autonomic nervous system. Many common ailments and undesirable conditions are addressed by acupuncture treatment.

Commonly Treated Conditions

  • Sinusitis
  • The common cold
  • Smoking and other addictions
  • Migraines
  • Tennis elbow
  • Infertility
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Obesity
  • Low-back pain
  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Dermatology issues

Treatment Procedure

On the first meeting, acupuncturists usually ask new clients to complete a personal health record prior to an interview. A session with the therapist then has the client answer questions that cover main health issues, diet, emotional and psychological profile, and overall lifestyle. The therapist should also be informed by the individual of any current medication and treatment being taken. During this interview, one can also expect the practitioner to evaluate pulse points and establish how healthy the individual’s twelve meridians are. A diagnosis is then given, followed by the insertion of 6 to 12 needles as treatment is commenced. Patients considering acupuncture must realize that the exact placement on target points along the meridians is of high importance, the number of needles used is a secondary factor.

The initial insertion may make the patient feel pricked or stung. However, the treatment should be relatively painless and comfortable for the duration that could extend to an hour or more. An individual should immediately tell the acupuncturist to discontinue if he feels any numbness, discomfort or pain. Variations of the treatment may involve use of herbal medicine – capsules, tablets or tea made from Chinese herbs to complement the therapy. Some practitioners also integrate cupping – a suction effect created with the use of glass cups on the skin, in part to promote blood circulation and continuous qi flow.

Needleless Acupuncture

A new and modern form of acupuncture, (Needleless Acupuncture) is emerging and gaining popularity. For those that cannot tolerate needles, this new form of acupuncture is a pleasant alternative. Based on Pulsed Magnetics, needleless acupuncture functions in exactly the same way as traditional acupuncture by targeting key points along the 12 meridian channels of the body. Pulsating magnetic fields induce an electrical current flow – qi – that stimulate the various organs of the body.

Rising Popularity

A recent recall of pain medications has raised apprehension over the ability of the Food and Drug Administration to ensure safety for consumers. This concern, combined with statements from the NIH and other government and health organizations that side effects from acupuncture are significantly lower than other forms of treatment, has made more individuals turn to the treatment, particularly for pain relief. Several studies have also shown how acupuncture has helped patients with osteoarthritis, post-chemotherapy nausea and even depression. Despite all the apparent positive feedback, those considering acupuncture should still consult regular doctors and health-care professionals for advice on their conditions first. If they decide to pursue the treatment, they must make sure that the acupuncturist or practitioner they see is highly-qualified and certified by organizations such as the American Academy of Medical Acupuncturists.

Natural Health: Improving Mental Wellness with Omega-3

“Many of us have already heard about natural health supplements like Omega-3, and today it is breaking ground with its natural ability to help in healing.  How? In recent studies, Omega-3 fish oil was tested and has shown to act as a natural preventative and aid for a number of mental health problems.

First, a little background on omega-3 fatty acids: Found in fish oil and other food sources, these acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are nutritionally essential.  This natural health supplement includes a-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).  Some of the many natural health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids include reduced risk of coronary heart disease, improved blood circulation, blood pressure reduction, and help in relieving depression and anxiety, among other health conditions.

The good news is that we can obtain natural health macronutrients like omega-3 through common food sources.  Seafood – including clams, mussels, anchovies, herring, mackerel, salmon, and sardines are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.  Flaxseed oil also contains omega-3 acids; as do kiwifruit, black raspberry, walnuts, pecans, hazel nuts, and eggs.

Because natural health supplements like omega-3 fatty acids are known to enhance membranes in brain cells, its no wonder researchers have taken an in-depth look into its effectiveness at helping individuals who suffer from a number of mental health disorders.  For example, a preliminary double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in the efficacy of omega-3 fatty acids on bipolar disorder found that patients who not only tolerated the fatty acids well, but demonstrated improvement in the mental health condition of the patient.

Omega-3, one of the natural health nutrients of the new millennium has now been shown to have benefits in the prevention of schizophrenia.  After a study (Schizophrenia Daily News Blog) conducted in Australia, participants who had displayed early signs of the disease were given fish oil for three months.  Findings demonstrated that natural health treatments like omega-3 fish oil could be beneficial in preventing schizophrenia on patients who are at risk for developing the mental health condition.

In general, omega-3 fatty acids are truly a natural health benefit to any one wanting to maintain a healthy and well-balanced life.  For those of us who may be at risk or are suffering from common health issues, it is proving to be a vital dose of daily nutrition.

Interested in learning more about these or other natural health supplements? Let professional training within fast-growing industries like massage therapy, holistic health, acupuncture, oriental medicine, Reiki, and others get you started! Explore natural health courses near you.

Note: This article is designed for education purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice.

*Other Sources:  Archives of General Psychiatry

Natural Health: Improving Mental Wellness with Omega-3   © Copyright 2008

The CollegeBound Network

All Rights Reserved

Resource Box: CarolAnn Bailey-Lloyd – Freelance Writer and Web Consultant forHolisticJunction.com, in association with CollegeSurfing.com – Educational Resources for Natural Healing, Natural Health, and other healing arts programs.

The Benefits of Organic Gardening over the Conventional Gardening

To provide a healthier environment the benefits of organic food go deeper into the health and lifestyle. Organic gardening is gardening without using any chemically created fertilizers, weed killers, or pesticides. The use of chemicals, especially pesticides, in gardening has always been associated with ozone depletion and the increase of certain cancer rates.

The undeniable benefit of organic gardening is that it protects the fertile soils from exhaustion.Besides, it does not presuppose the use of chemical pesticides and other chemicals, which are extremely harmful for the environment. The result is a naturally nourishing soil achieved without exposing the gardener to chemical poisoning and a safer, cleaner environment. For this reason alone organic growing or organic gardening can help to support the environment as well as prevent serious health risks.Another advantage of eating organic vegetables is you do not need to spend so much on them because you can always grow them in your garden. Organic vegetables taste much better than those that have been heavily treated with chemicals.There are some people who do take the time to check the ingredients on their products before buying them but most of us don t. In fact, many of us only look for the cheapest products available. After buying based on price we are then exposing ourselves to potentially harmful chemicals by using them on food we plan to later eat. Yes most vegetables are washed before being eaten but how thoroughly and how will washing help when the food has been grown using fertilizer loaded with unknown chemicals.

There are many more insecticides and pesticides used on vegetables that have very harmful side effects. In addition to chemically saturated pesticides most vegetables are also grown using fertilizers that are filled with chemicals and the vegetable plants are also treated with weed killers that expose vegetables to even more chemicals. By organic growing you are placing yourself in complete control of what is going into the food that you are eating and completely avoiding any chance of being poisoned by pesticides.When vegetables are grown organically you do not have to wonder about what sort of chemicals your vegetables have been exposed to since you know that you have used no store bought, manmade, chemicals in your garden. Organic gardening is challenging but it pays off when you are able to reap what you sow, which means additional savings and maybe even a small business if you want to sell whatever excess you have in the market.

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