An Overview of the Art of Acupuncture

an acupuncturist inserting a needleAcupuncture is an ancient form of healing through using fine needles that are inserted at specific points on the body to restore good health. As crazy as this may sound, numerous studies are emerging around the benefits of acupuncture particularly with regards to various forms of pain, including back pain, knee pain and headaches. Some studies have also found that acupuncture may be helpful for fertility when used to assist the in vitro fertilisation (IVF) process.

Acupuncture is a healing technique of Chinese medicine and therefore, follows the concepts and principles of this healing art form.

The Practice of Acupuncture

Acupuncture Points and Channels

Acupuncture theory states that there is a complex network of channels known as the meridian system, which traverses the body and connects different organs and body structures. Along the meridian system are points referred to as the acupuncture points, which are the points used by acupuncturists when inserting a needle for treatment.

Each of the acupuncture points is said to have different functions in the body and can help to have a curative effect on disease. In this system, there are twelve primary meridians which are said to each pertain to a particular organ. Furthermore, acupuncturists also believe that there are an additional eight meridians known as the ‘extraordinary meridians’. The extraordinary meridians lay deeper in the body and are accessible via special points on the primary channels. These deep meridians are said to be like a reservoir of Qi, blood and fluids, which can be drawn upon in times of depletion to help restore balance to the body.

The Concept of Qi

The concept of Qi (pronounced ‘Chi’) is a fundamental principle of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Directly translated, ‘Qi’ means ‘energy’. However, this translation is somewhat confusing and misleading. To try to explain this better, the Chinese believe in an ‘energy’ or universal life-force that flows through everyone and everything. Qi is the driving force that allows movement and permits life.

Qi, blood and fluids are three essential substances in Chinese medical thinking. We in the West are aware of blood and body fluids residing and nourishing the body. However, it is the Qi that enables the blood and fluids to move and reach the different parts of the body.

Here is a video explaining the concept of Qi by Dr Paul Lam.

A Brief History

A statue of a Chinese EmperorAs stated previously, acupuncture is closely associated as a part of Chinese medicine. Chinese medicine is said to date back to at least 3,500 years and, although it is an ancient system, it is also very sophisticated with many complex principles and philosophies behind it’s working.

The oldest records of the use of acupuncture are documented in ancient Chinese texts that are said to be written by Huang Di, the first Yellow Emperor of China. However, the books appear to be a compilation by several unknown authors and detail the use of Chinese herbs and acupuncture to treat patients.

The theory and practice of acupuncture are primarily based on the understanding that we as human beings are a reflection of our outer realities, and therefore, the external universe. This is personified in the concept of the microcosm and the macrocosm. Our internal bodies (the microcosm) has a correlation with the macrocosm (the universe). Therefore, external climatic influences that exist in nature may be able to have an impact on our internal bodies if our bodies are weak and pernicious influences from the elements are allowed to permeate. We can see this clearly in the person who has been exposed to the cold weather and ends up catching a cold due to the invasion of this climate.

When acupuncture is taught, the student needs to learn about Chinese philosophy as many of the concepts used in acupuncture are based on philosophical understandings. As such, the student will need to have a sound knowledge of utilisation and relevance of the five elements, yin-yang theory, the channel system, the six climates and more.

In the West, acupuncture colleges aim to bring an in-depth understanding of these philosophical concepts along with a balance of a good knowledge of Western anatomy, physiology and pathology. The International College of Oriental Medicine (ICOM) is one such training institution. You can visit ICOM on Vimeo here to learn more about their teaching style.

The Application of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is based on holistic philosophies and therefore, aims to treat the whole being, body, mind, emotion and spirit. Initially, the acupuncture practitioner will enquire as to the nature of the patient’s symptoms, but then they will like to ask more questions about the person’s overall health, background history, lifestyle and so forth to try to understand the cause of the ailments the patient is presenting.

Further diagnosis techniques are then carried out through the use of looking at the tongue, feeling the pulse, observing markings and textures on the body and palpating the channels.

Upon reaching a conclusion as to the nature and cause of the ailment, the practitioner will then begin to select appropriate acupuncture points in order to start to bring about a healing effect.

A Brief Guide to Ayurvedic Medicine

some herbs used in Ayurvedic medicineAyurveda is a healing practice developed in India thousands of years ago. Even today, it’s a powerful medicinal system that takes a deeper look at the mind and body connection. Because of this principle, Ayurvedic practitioners believe that the mind is the most powerful tool when it comes to overcoming any ailment.

The History of Ayurveda

According to the history and mythology of Ayurveda, the knowledge that it’s based on has been passed from the gods to the sages and eventually to healers. Archaeologists have discovered evidence of the existence of Ayurveda from around 5,000 BC. This means Ayurveda is one of the very few medicinal practices developed in ancient times that is still being used today.

The healing practice became incredibly widespread during the Middle Ages. In time, some of the most prominent Ayurvedic texts were translated into Chinese and Arabic. Persian physicians began adopting the practice, as well.

Eventually, ayurvedic practices were observed by British physicians travelling to India. Some of the instruments and treatments were taken to Europe and modified to correspond to the methods that the Western physicians relied upon.

Today, up to 80 percent of people in India rely on at least some kind of ayurvedic treatment. Ayurveda is also very popular in Nepal and Sri Lanka. This is primarily due to Ayurvedic medicine emerging from India, and much of its practice is also immersed in the traditions and culture of the area. The practice of Ayurvedic medicine has also spread to other continents where it is also taught and practised in Europe and the United States.

How Ayurveda Works

According to ayurvedic practitioners, the mind is the origin of all diseases. Thus, it offers a personalised approach for the treatment of a medical condition by the patient’s particular history and the manner in which the disease manifests itself.

Very often, ayurvedic treatments involve dietary changes, the practice of mindfulness through yoga and meditation, supplementation and the use of herbal extracts to address the root cause of the problem. Because of this combination, Ayurvedic medicine is a holistic approach to a persons health.

Ayurvedic Elements and Doshas

Ayurvedic practitioners also believe that the body is composed of five elements air, fire, space, earth and water. These combine to form the three primary life forces or doshas. The doshas determine the mind-body connection, and they have an impact on how the body works. As such, the Ayurvedic tradition categorises people into one of the three doshas depending on you body type.

Vata dosha is considered to be the most powerful one. It controls all of the essential physiological functions, including cellular division. People who have Vata dosha as their primary life force are likely to suffer from conditions like heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma according to the Ayurvedic traditions, although there is no scientific evidence for this.

Pitta dosha is the life energy that impacts the body’s metabolic rate, digestion and hormonal levels. The final one is Kapha dosha the energy that controls weight, muscle strength and the immune response.

Here is a good video by Jeffrey Armstrong explaining the different body types of the three doshas.

Assessing these life forces, an ayurvedic practitioner will put together a custom treatment that’s highly specific to the individual. The goal of the treatment would be to cleanse the body, balance the elements and strengthen the mind.

A Brief Overview Of Reiki Healing

a person receiving Reiki healingReiki is a form of healing heralded from the island of Japan and involves healing through touch. The belief is that a person who has been attuned to the universal energy can then channel it through their hands and into a person for healing.

Reiki was said to have been discovered, or some would say, rediscovered, by a Japanese Christian monk named Mikao Usui in the late 1800’s. It is believed that people had this healing ability thousands of years ago, but the knowledge had somehow become lost over the ages.

Reiki Healing And It’s Uses

The technique is often used for relieving stress and relaxing the body to promote healing. However, Reiki practitioners claim that this healing art can also be used for much more.

The process involves hands being placed on the body strategically to help release any negative energy that may be burdening it. It is a natural, safe practice and one can use it to their advantage without worrying about any ill effects.

Many people falsely believe that Reiki is a religious practice, and this stops many people from taking advantage of it. This is unfortunate since it can be helpful in so many ways. While this skill comes from God and is considered spiritual, you do not have to follow any particular religion if you choose to practice this healing art.

One great thing about this is the fact that it is very easy to learn. While some healing arts can only be taught in a classroom setting that involves many hours of study, this is not the case here. In fact, there are classes held all over the globe and anyone who would like to learn this art is welcome to attend. There are no age or background limits that prevent certain subsets of people from obtaining these skills.

What Does A Treatment Feel Like?

It can be difficult to understand Reiki since everyone who is affected is different. The way that one feels when they are on the receiving end varies from person to person. Many have described it as a warmth that feels as if it is flowing through their entire being. Others have reported mystical experiences that make them feel as if they are floating on the outside of their bodies.

It is also common for some people to drift off into a sleep-like state or see vivid colours in their mind’s eye during the treatment. All these occurrences are a good sign and show that the Reiki is having a positive effect on the body.

Reiki is used for people who have physical ailments, but it can also help those who have mental issues as well. Whether you are dealing with things like stress, depression or an abundance of anxiety, this treatment method can be incredibly useful to help reduce these symptoms.

As far as helping the physical body, people have used these procedures to get help with everything from minor aches and pains to also helping with sports injuries.

If you are interested in becoming a Reiki healer or you would rather be on the receiving end, it is a good idea to know what you are getting into. Now that you have a bit of insight, you should be far more receptive to the idea of giving it a try.

Healing Arts of The World

a healing treatmentHello and welcome to our website. We are super excited to start bringing you info on various healing arts from around the world!

Healing of different kinds has been around since the dawn of civilisation. When someone is sick, they inevitably want to get better as soon as possible. Understandably, some of the earlier forms of healing have been more esoteric in nature. Interestingly enough, though, several very old practices are still in use and prove to be effective even today. Systems such as acupuncture, herbalism and healing touch go back many hundreds, if not thousands of years.

The early and mid parts of the 20th century say an increase in popularity of Western medicine with its huge advances in healthcare and creations of amazing drugs such as antibiotics. However, it seems that in more recent years alternative healing arts are also becoming popular among the general public.

herbalism

Some traditional healing methods do carry more merit than others and have the backing of various scientific studies to prove their effectiveness. However, there are also some that lack the evidence of their effectiveness, so it is important to look a little deeper into any practice or method of healing to get an idea of its validity.

Here is a fascinating documentary called Sacred Science. In this documentary, a film crew follow a group of people with various health conditions and document their travel to Peru to seek out Shamanistic healing for their ailments. The methods used by the Shamans are predominantly based on the use of herbal medicine from their traditions. The results after 30 days are quite impressive and very eye-opening. We hope you enjoy the video!