Acupuncture and Moxibustion

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Acupuncture is one of the oldest methods of treatment and has been around for three thousand years. From the ancient stone needles to the present stainless steel needles, acupuncture has transformed into an incredible medicine.

In Chinese, acupuncture is called Zhenjiu, Zhen meaning needle and Jiu meaning moxibustion or herbal heat therapy. Usually the two are used together, but many practitioners tend to use one or the other. Acupuncture means insertion of thin needles into specific points or acupoints to stimulate the chi (energy) and restore the balance of the body. Acupuncture stimulates the blood flow to the organs, restores the balance of energy, and accelerates the healing process. There are close to 2,000 acupunctures points on the human body, with 400 main points and many extra points. There are 12 major meridians and 8 secondary meridians that are connected to each other as well as the organs. The meridians are the conduits through which the energy passes to reach a particular organ. Acupuncture facilitates in the process of balancing the energy to maintain a healthy body. The needle is inserted in the acupuncture point that stimulates sensory receptors that in turn stimulate nerves, which transmit signals to the brain; the brain releases endorphins, a neuropeptides that has been shown to alleviate pain. Because acupuncture works with the nervous system, it’s easy to see how many problems such as acute and chronic pain conditions and numerous neurological problems are successfully treated with acupuncture.

Moxa or moxibustion is another technique used with acupuncture. Moxa is an herb called Artemisia Vulgaris, or commonly called Mugwort. Moxibustion  is used in conjunction with needles or alone to promote the flow of energy, alleviating stagnations. Moxa has been used successfully in China to movie breech babies into a normal position prior to delivery. Indirect moxa is the most popular method used in the U.S., because it uses a moxa cone or a moxa stick that is ignited and placed 2-3 centimeters away from the needle. The Moxa stick or cone is moved around the needle and its surrounding area to create a warming sensation. This method is used in treating many different symptoms, but is specifically for promoting circulation and alleviating pain and stagnations.

By: Raphaela Sorkin