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9: Getting to the Point of Acupuncture in Visual Studio .NET
9: Getting to the Point of Acupuncture
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Acupuncture is now widely practised in most European countries, the US, Australasia and India In the UK alone there are now over 2,500 acupuncturists while in China there are estimated to be over 50,000! In Western countries acupuncture training now lasts for three or four years and many countries have laws governing its practice
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Understanding How Acupuncture Works
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According to acupuncture theory health is dependent on the flow of vital energy, known as qi or chi (pronounced chee) in Chinese and ki (kee) in Japanese This energy is said to flow through a network of invisible channels, known as meridians, that are believed to course the whole body These channels have various key points along them, known as acupoints, into which acupuncture needles can be inserted to redirect and rebalance the flow of qi The meridians have never been proven scientifically although some work has suggested that they are electrical channels, which can be mapped quite precisely and that acupoints may be identified by changes in the electrical response of the skin (see 22 on Energy Medicine for more on this) However, this work remains controversial
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The power of qi
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The Chinese character for qi is nowadays often seen as a design image in literature about acupuncture, on clothing, bags, martial arts logos, and so on (see the figure below) The actual character is made up of parts that represent the physical energy obtained from food (the central part of the character developed from drawings of a stalk of rice) and nonphysical energy from air, space, and heaven (the wavy lines at the top of the character representing the flow of air or water) So next time you notice this design you can tell everyone that it actually represents the uniting of physical and heavenly energy to produce powerful vitality!
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Part III: Using Popular Complementary Therapies
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Acupuncturists believe that improved flow of qi, triggered by needle stimulation, pressure, or heat treatments can improve circulation and enhance internal organ and body system function, although this has not yet been fully proven scientifically Twelve main meridians, mostly corresponding with specific internal organs, contain over 365 acupoints Some of these are classified as major points, believed to directly influence various physical systems and organs, while others are considered more minor and have a less specific effect Modern research has suggested that acupuncture can produce a whole series of measurable effects on the body, including the following: Releasing of feel-good chemicals in the brain, known as endorphins Speeding up of cell repair and renewal Lowering of blood pressure Blocking of pain pathways Stimulating the nervous system Reducing inflammation On the basis of this research, some people believe that acupuncture works by promoting biochemical changes that facilitate healing Other researchers have tried to measure energetic changes that may result from acupuncture, using a technique called Kirlian photography (see 22 for more on this) These photos suggest that acupuncture may produce energetic changes in the body, however, although the pictures are intriguing and beautiful, this technique is not widely accepted by doctors or scientists So no one is really sure exactly how acupuncture works and yet it does appear to be effective for certain types of health problems
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Exploring Different Types of Acupuncture
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Styles of acupuncture vary according to the country where they were developed or the master acupuncturist who developed them
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The main features of Japanese acupuncture are the following: Acupuncturists use very fine needles, insertion is usually shallow, and sometimes the needle is just touched against the skin and not inserted at all Great emphasis is placed on making the acupuncture treatment painless Basically, if it hurts, Japanese clients won t be back!
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9: Getting to the Point of Acupuncture
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Tubes, called shinkan, are a clever invention by Japanese acupuncturists to make needling genuinely painless The needle is placed in a narrow tube before insertion Your skin receptors are so busy feeling the soft, rounded edge of the tube they re unable to feel the needle that is then popped in through the middle These guide tubes are used by many Western and Chinese acupuncturists Acupuncturists use many individual, specialist techniques Examples are Ippon hari, or One Needle Acupuncture , where just one needle in a single point constitutes the entire acupuncture treatment; and ryodoraku, a type of acupuncture using electrical stimulation of acupuncture needles, especially for pain relief
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