Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of healing known to mankind. It originated in the east nearly two thousand years ago. The fact that it is still being practiced today speaks for the efficacy of this treatment and for the truth of the principles on which it is based. These principles relate to the Order of Nature (the way the universe works). The observation and knowledge of these principles can be seen to underlie the whole of eastern culture, including all classical eastern medical thinking.
The application of these principles to the health of the human body was first written down – about 200BC or a little earlier, during a golden age of Chinese thought – in a book that remains the foundation of all Chinese medicine. This book, the Nei Ching – the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine – is a treatise on life itself. As well as explaining how to live one’s life in accordance with the great natural law of the universe, and examining at length the normal functions of the human body and bodily diseases and their causes, the Nei Ching sets out for the first time the theory on which the whole of acupuncture is based. This is the ‘meridian theory’ which concerns the flow of life-energy through the body.
Acupuncture and moxabustion treatment assists nature by influencing this energy in such a way that it may return to its natural flow and balance in a person, thus allowing body, mind and spirit to return to health. This influence is achieved by inserting very fine needles into specific points on the body and by burning a herb (artemisia vulgaris latiflora) on these points in order to gently warm them. This burning of the herb is referred to as moxabustion.
In simple terms acupuncture works on the following main principles:
- To treat the patient as a whole
- To seek the cause of the disease or inbalance
- To correct the cause of the problem
- To help the patient get well and stay well.