Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) originated in ancient China and has evolved over thousands of years. TCM practitioners use herbal medicines and various mind and body practices, such as acupuncture, moxibustion (heat therapy), and tai chi, to treat or prevent health problems.
In this article we will focus on the history of Acupuncture and Moxibustion for improving health.
Acupuncture and Moxibustion
Acupuncture and moxibustion are forms of traditional Chinese medicine widely practised in China and also found in regions of south-east Asia, Europe and the Americas. The theories of acupuncture and moxibustion hold that the human body acts as a small universe connected by channels, and that by physically stimulating these channels the practitioner can promote the human body’s self-regulating functions and bring health to the patient. Acupuncture and moxibustion have constantly been reinvented in response to the environment and the interactions between nature and history, therefore various schools have emerged based on those regions and techniques.
Acupuncture and Moxibustion History and Benefits
In acupuncture the primary tool is the needle. In the past, needles were made from special stones or metals such as bronze iron gold and silver, today needles are mostly made from stainless steel. Needs are selected according to the individual conditions and used to puncture and stimulate specific points to dredge the channels. Methods such as lifting, thrusting, twirling and rotating are used for both prevention and treatment of disease. These techniques can be dated as far back as the second to third century BC.
In China to be a recognized master of the acupuncture tradition, requires an apprenticeship under renowned acupuncturist. To become a reputable acupuncturist involves long term accumulation of knowledge and practical experience. Studies on the benefits of acupuncture show that it successfully treats conditions ranging from musculoskeletal problems (back pain, neck pain, and others) to nausea, migraine headache, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and infertility.
The primary material used for moxibustion is artemesia, commonly known as the moxa plant, which has a particular fragrance and grows throughout most of China. Since ancient times the Chinese believe it has the ability to dispel pathogenic factors. Moxa combs and sticks are made from moxa wool processed from moxa leaves, which have been dried and grounded into wool. It is then usually divided into direct and indirect moxibustion, in which either moxa cones are placed directly on points or moxa sticks are held and kept at some distance from the body surface to warm the chosen area. This is thought to adjust the “yin” and “yang” of the body, thus restoring balance and health.
Moxibustion helps to increase blood circulation, tonify energy and stimulate digestive system function as well as boost the immune system.
Acupuncture and moxibustion are a type of natural therapy which requires no medicine. This comprehensive body of knowledge and the steady rate of development have played an important role in promoting health care in the east. This Chinese tradition medicine of having acupuncture and moxibustion is a living body of ancient Chinese wisdom and legacy.