Acupuncture is a therapeutic method that is part of traditional Chinese medicine. The most distant known written mention of acupuncture dates from the year 580 before J. C. This is "The Book of the Spring and Autumn", the Chinese history of the eighth century BC.
The basis of this technique is formed primarily by two important notions:
Concept of energy
T'chi, is the foundation of Chinese philosophy and medicine. This energy is characterized by the regular alternation of Yin-negative, corresponds to the field, water, cold and Yang is the positive energy, the sun, the day the fire. In this conception, theory of Five Elements is associated: Wood, fire, earth, metal and water.
Presence of privileged cutaneous areas
Chinese medicine describes five organs (heart, lung, spleen, liver, kidneys) and seven "guts" (gallbladder, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, bladder, and three pockets or areas overheating). Each of these entities has a meridian or energy external route (by sub-cutaneous tissue) and another route that goes to every internal organ or carries. On the route of the meridians are located a few points of entry and exit from power. With the help of needles located on these points you can get an action on energy.
In acupuncture, the needles are working tools of different shapes and sizes, usually steel, but can also be made of precious metals, which are attributed to the different therapeutic effects: it is said, for example, that gold has stimulating effect, while the silver has the sedative power.
The needles used in acupuncture today are metal, usually steel, but can also be gold, silver or other metals. It is worth recalling that in ancient times the instruments used in acupuncture were of stone or wood Regardless of the metal used, the needles, while presenting different ways, consist essentially of a thin stick that ends sharp in one side and other round in a reinforcement that facilitates handling. The filiform needles are commonly used in "plum blossom", etc.. Filiform needles have a length and a diameter varying from 1.2 cm to 12 cm. long and ¼ mm to half a millimeter in diameter. The needle in "plum blossom" consists of 5-7 needles together in a single medium, which starts a long stick that serves as a grip. Relatively recently has also introduced the use of electroacupuncture, which involves applying an electric energy to the needle once it has been introduced into the skin.
The application of the needle requires great skill, necessary in particular to ensure that the patient feels a pain too, with negative effects on the therapeutic outcome. The placement of the needle can follow different directions (perpendicular, at an angle of 45 (nearly horizontal) depending on the point chosen for the intervention and the nature of the disease. As far as the depth at which you must enter the hand, depends on the anatomic region in which acupuncture is performed and the reactions of the patient. The points in all four limbs, the depth can be achieved is about 1 - 3 inches or more, as is the case of item 36 of the canal from the stomach, approximately one finger (width) above the crest of the tibia, at this point the depth can vary from 2.5 to 5 centimeters . These values can be achieved in the region lumbosacral, whereas in the head and face, where the flesh is thin, applications must be very superficial.
The effect of excitation or depression at the point of application can be achieved through appropriate manipulation of the needle and applied through the experience of the acupuncturist: raising or lowering the needle, twisting, making it vibrate, and so on., are operations that require a great sensitivity and above all a Total security in relation to desired results, depending on the disease or the symptom of which is intended to act. The application of the needle can be very quick but can take several minutes or even hours.
When using the "plum blossom” needle, the application technique is the introduction of needles, but the impact of certain areas of the body or channels using a tool like small hammer. The use of the "plum blossom" found wide application as it basically has the same indications that the use of the filiform needle. In all cases, the application of acupuncture requires a perfect sterilization of the instruments used both as the parties in which needles are inserted. Furthermore, it is necessary that the patient takes the best position not only to allow an operator to an easier approach to the area to be treated, but especially for the highest possible degree of relaxation, a condition that is among the more important to avoid the pain and inconvenience as a broken needle, organ damage, etc.. Today the influence of acupuncture on the nervous system, endocrine glands, etc. is also the object of study, changes have been made in the classic technique, consisting in the use of electroacupuncture (which consists of passing an electric current through the needle) and the fonoforesis (instead of the needle is applied to a vibrator) in China current acupuncture is still an important place in the framework of traditional medicine (along with massage, diet, hydrotherapy, breathing techniques, burns, phytotherapy), it is studied in universities and has been incorporated perfectly with western medicine, becoming official.