Both traditional chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture and moxibustion are noted to go back to the Shang dynasty and even earlier. References date to 3000 BCE as noted in both Egyptian and Chinese writings, respectively. Acupuncture is estimated to have begun about 2000 years ago, in China and spread to Japan. It gained interest in the USA in the early 1970s. This was attributed to journalistic testimonial where a writer from a major daily claimed to have been significantly helped by acupuncture treatment. Herbal and traditional eastern medicine state their general aim is to treat disease at the cause point rather than based on symptoms noted largely to occur in conventional western medicine. The emergence of center for integrated medicine formulate an interdisciplinary team approach combining the best of known protocols from both complementary medicine and conventional medicine. Acupuncture along with a related technique known as moxibustion are used together or separately as part of an overall treatment regimen.
Moxibustion is a procedure where a cone of mugwort artemesia vulgaris – is placed over an inflamed area, hovering just above the skin surface. Prior to potential skin burn the cone is removed. The two types of moxibustion are direct and indirect. Additionally, acupuncture is said to use small, thin metallic needles to penetrate the skin. These are either moved by hand or via electrical stimulation. As a combined form, acupuncture with moxibustion are noted to:
- Increase energy known as chi and strengthen blood as generated heat travels to pathways throughout the body known as merridians.
- Treat acute and chronic arthritis.
- Aid in treating menstrual cramps and infertility.
- Treat general and even migraine headaches.
- Treat ongoing back pain relieving its intensity.
Melding Ancient and Modern Medicine
As western medicine has focused on treating observed evidence-based conditions, Chinese medicine considers treatment protocol along with how the patient’s anatomy relates to its environment. This considers factors such as weather, seasons and emotional states. As a known intrusion may cause disease in western medicine, disruption in energy circulation known as chi is supposed to be the cause of disease in TCM, traditional Chinese medicine. There is currently movement toward both forms using a detailed medical history, comprehensive testing and diagnosis resulting in a treatment plan tailored to each patient’s situation.