Although Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years and has helped millions of people around the globe, there has been some skepticism about it here at home. Until recently, that is! Once a marginalized medicine, Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are finally being recognized, utilized, and appreciated by some of our nation’s best hospitals.
M.D. Anderson and Mayo Clinic, for example, both offer acupuncture to their patients. Mayo clinic claims “Acupuncture can be helpful as a stand-alone treatment to provide pain relief, as well as to help maintain general health and well-being, increase energy and improve mood in healthy individuals” and adds that acupuncture “can help promote physical, mental and spiritual wellness”.
Acupuncture is the insertion of very thin needles into special points on the body. These points lie upon meridians that have been mapped out for thousands of years. Stimulation of these points prompt changes in the body that promote a state of balance in the patient. The World Health Organization lists about a hundred conditions for which acupuncture can be used, including musculoskeletal problems, gastrointestinal problems, menstrual disorders, stress, addiction, allergies, nausea, arthritis, sciatica, neuropathy, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, and depression… just to name a few.
Chinese medicine boasts some of the oldest medical texts in the history of mankind. One of the earliest and perhaps most cited is the Huăngdì Neìjīng (Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon), which is estimated to have been written between 300 and 100 BC. This text covers a Q&A discourse between the mythical Emperor and six of his ministers regarding the causes and the cures of illness in human beings. Astoundingly, some estimate that acupuncture dates back approximately 3000 years before this book was even written.
To comprehend the profundity of the antiquity of these writings is a lot to ask. Yet, instinctively, one knows that there is incredible value in thousands of years of empirical knowledge. Though slow in arriving, the fact that our most revered medical institutions are turning their attention towards this enduring and effective medicine bodes well, I believe, for the future of our health and wellness in this country.