Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) originated about five thousand years ago. Acupuncture is a crucial part of this medical system. Just like aged wine, TCM has been shaped and refined by age with its unique health care philosophy. It has spread to 182 countries in the world, and there are 43 states plus the District of Columbia in the United States that have issued licenses to acupuncturists as independent health care providers. WHO has identified many diseases, symptoms, and/or conditions that can benefit from acupuncture treatment, NIH offers funding for scientists to study the efficacy of acupuncture for a wide range of conditions. As one of the holistic medicines, it is comparable to western or other holistic medicines.
When discussing the principles of TCM, the YIN-YANG theory and Five Elements Theory are important to understand, as they are the core theory of TCM. TCM professionals must understand and master these theories. However, the first thing to understand about TCM is that TCM has the belief that the human body has a self-healing ability and each individual has its own unique constitution. The self-healing ability can be hindered by certain influences such as emotions, diet, exhaustion from overworking (mentally and physically), climates, environments, aging and so on; all of the mentioned influences combined with hereditary factors forge each individual's different body constitution. By identifying the body's constitution and the factors that hinder its self-healing power, we can then remove these factors and address the illness. The principle of Eastern medicine's idea of homeostasis is very similar to Western medicine’s idea of homeostasis, or a state of internal equilibrium. TCM strategies work on the multiple levels of imbalance of an individual's being, making it personalized medicine. Just as different kinds of soil grow on different plants, estern medicine focuses on the plants condition —- diseases; Eastern medicine, however, works on the soil's condition, which is a constitutional health state. Eastern medicine also works on the same subject of human diseases as Western medicine, which means Eastern medicine is based on the human anatomy, physiology, and pathology, despite it originating from a different culture, different time, even a different approach to the human body. Qi, Yin-Yang and the Five Elements are TCM's explanation of the body's self-control system, which involves the control system of homeostasis and self-healing. After acupuncture, qi flows better, which increases blood flow, body fluid flow, the release of chemicals, better pressure and temperature sensors, and nerve end stimulation that causes a chain of signaling transduction. This directly leads to the adjustment in the homeostasis control, self-healing, and the equilibrium of cells, tissues, organs, and systems.
The most effective alternative or holistic medicine is both acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Many years of observation and experimentation with acupuncture needles has proved that that certain points on the skin are associated with particular internal body functions and emotions through the body signaling system in the nervous system, through interstitial fluid function, blood and lymphoma circulation and muscle-skeletal activities. It has been used for people's health for five thousand year. The effectiveness and safety of Acupuncture has also been tested for four decades in the USA. For years, acupuncture has been offered in many hospitals, and Chinese herbal medicine has recently started getting prescribed too in the hospital. Cleveland clinic is one hospital that did this. According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 51% of medical doctors understand the efficacy and value of acupuncture, and more medical doctors refer patients to acupuncturists more than any other alternative care provider. Besides managing pain control, acupuncture has a proven track record of treating and addressing a variety of endocrine, circulatory, and systemic conditions. Acupuncture and modern medicine combined together have the potentials to support, strengthen, and nurture a patient back to vital health and well-being.
The Basic Anatomic Features Of Acupoints: Acupoints are always associated with either cutaneous nerves or muscular nerves; they are formed along superficial nerve trunks more often than deeper ones. They are formed at the locations where a nerve trunk penetrates deep fascia and emerges close to the surface, at the locations where a large nerve trunk branches into two or more smaller branches, at the bone foramina where nerve trunks emerge to distribute cutaneously, at the loci where the nerve trunks enter the muscle, and at the spot associated with neurovascular bundles. They are formed along the coronal suture, sagittal suture, and lambdoidal suture on the skull; some researchers also suggested a close association of some acupoints with lymphatic channels.
Recent researchers confirmed that the stimulation from acupuncture points will make the body produce epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, histamine, serotonin, and opium (like a pain killer). It also increases the CO2 release from skin, increases blood immunoglobulin and even more. The research about the meridians have confirmed its existence through ultrasound transfer, isotope trace, electric current conduction and so on. One explanation of its anatomical base is that body fluid travels through loose and dense connective tissue forming their own paths, which means the fluid carries released chemicals and nerve signaling substances from point stimulations travel from an area of dense connective tissue to an area of loose connective tissues. It travels from an area of high osmosis to an area of low osmosis, to form its own path, and transfer chemicals and signals to ignite the homeostasis control and start self-healing. The pathway is called a meridian.
The simplest way to understand acupuncture can be also compared to plant maintenance and trimming theories. Trimming a plant influences the local and entire plant's photosynthesis. Depending on the intention, trimming could increase the root development and develop either the top or bottom bud. Just as branches are trimmed in botanical science, there is also a trimming and controlling system in human bodies that acupuncture helps to maintain. Should we just called acupuncture bioinformatics medicine?