Acupuncture (from Latin: acus, "needle" and pungere "sting" as the most representative characteristic is its treatment by implantation of needles, is a component of traditional Chinese medicine .

Acupuncture is a traditional art that develops therapeutic and diagnostic reasoning in a therapeutic energy Taoist vision of man and the universe: the Man, the microcosm, held in the universal image of the Macrocosm, is therefore subject to the same rules, which will inspire his lifestyle, and provide the framework for the development of the medical procedure.

The effectiveness of acupuncture is still debate within the scientific community.

In Europe, it was found in 1991 in a glacier located straddling Italy and Austria a frozen body, and relatively well preserved by a man nicknamed Otzi by scientists. This man, kept in ice for 5 300 years (and having lived around 3300 BC.) Covers his body a number of tattoos. An Austrian team noticed that among the 15 groups of traits that were tattooed Otzi, nine were close to points of Chinese acupuncture. However, as pointed out by L. Renaut, "the current practice identifies 670 points symmetrically distributed throughout the human body along 12 meridians (or channels) and two bilateral axial meridian. The surface of the human body is literally strewn with points, it can be considered as lacking any kind of statistical significance that the tattoo of Otzi long and fairly extensive coincide from time to time with some of these points. ".

In India, the use of acupuncture is mentioned there are about 5 000 years in Ayurveda (Ayurvedic medicine Treaty) and is still used today in traditional medicine in India.

The Ebers papyrus (Eber 854a), which dates from 1 500 in full ancient Egypt, and visible at the British Museum, gives a representation of channels in which circulates a fluid (blood or Qi) and called metu.

First traces of Chinese acupuncture
The first might go back to the stone age where sharp instruments were used to treat pain. Needles of bone or bamboo could be used before the discovery of the technique of bronze casting (Chang dynasty - from sixteenth to eleventh century BC.).

The Huangdi Nei Jing is a compilation of writings on acupuncture, moxibustion, but also the use of drug therapies, massages and gymnastics, dated from the Warring States period (-500 to -220) and the dynasty Han (-206). It is the historical source the oldest, although only published after his supposed Drafting have been found. The acupuncture and meridian theory are described in some books dating from the early Han dynasty (-168, 50 years after the late Zhanguo) found in a tomb of the Han (Mawangdui, 1973-1975).

Arrival in Europe
Acupuncture was introduced in Europe in the seventeenth century by Willem Ten Rhyne, physician of the Dutch India Company (1679) would have discovered at Nagasaki in Japan, where he stayed for two years, and by Kaempfer. A century later, and Dujardin Vicq Azyr to recount the process in their respective books. However, it seems that Louis Berlioz, the composer's father who first tried in practice in France (1810), then imitated by many doctors. From 1853, the consul Dabrye involved in its distribution in Europe, but it really is that from 1927 it will become popular through the work of sinologist George Soulie de Morant.

Industrial era
Acupuncture was banned in 1822 by the Chinese emperor and abolished Program Imperial Medical College. But it will survive.
Mao Zedong also try to eliminate this practice - because of its foundations Taoist incompatible with Marxist ideology - before rehabilitation.
Today, acupuncture in China occupies an important place in medicine for a wide range of diseases, especially in hospitals, some of which were turned into tourist sites. Of colossal experiments have been undertaken, not always in agreement with the traditional Orthodox, leading to the multiplication of points outside the meridian, and the advent of new techniques such as analgesia by acupuncture.
Taiwan, which have found refuge acupuncturists those teachers who have escaped the purges of Mao in his rise to power, remains one of the high places of traditional acupuncture.
French consul in China, George Soulie de Morant (1878-1955), studied acupuncture during his long stay in the Middle Kingdom, and published when he returned to France a treaty imposing still refers nowadays.

According to Chinese tradition, the living being, and this particular man, is an organization resulting from the combination of matter - the physical body or physical - such as yin, and energy - that drives the subject - such as yang. The balance between these two components determines the state of health. Disruption of this balance are responsible for the disease. Any disturbance such as to break this balance affects first preferentially energy. For example, an excess of yang can generate a sudden pain, inflammation, spasms, headache or an increase of tension. Excessive yin may result in pain, feeling cold, fluid retention or fatigue.

Energy (Qi) is movement and disturbance princeps will hinder the movement: the blockage. The energy locked into a region of the body material accumulates upstream of the blockage, while the region downstream of the blockage will be in energy deficit. In the presence of a disease state described, the acupuncturist will establish the diagnosis by looking for levels at which energy is blocked, and what is the reason for the blockage. It will then apply its treatment by removing the blockage and correcting, if possible, the reason for this deadlock. The needle, among other means, will enable it to direct current energy.

The energy flows along particular conduits called meridians, and, from these meridians is spreading throughout the body to breathe vitalising principle (yang) to all constituents of the body. It has some correlation with the blood, which itself flows through conduits (vessels) and spreads throughout the body to irrigate principle Yin.

In addition, there are several energies, each with its own specialty, in addition to the main meridians, there are still a lot of functions to different meridians, the balance of the human body must always be assessed in relation to its environment, and cycles that will change the rhythm, cycles with which it must remain in harmony, and whose physical connections (five elements) will serve as a benchmark for the acupuncturist to make his diagnosis and treatment, according to rules which are subtle their origins in Taoism.

The meridians are the main points covered are as many strategic areas. Contrary to what the layman usually thinks, these points are not themselves under specific therapy. That is to say that there is not a sleep, a point of angina, the pain of dental or abdominal colic. The points allow, as stated above, to influence the course of energy.

The most important for the treatment of energy meridians in the needle are located near the ends. It is easy to ascertain the location of a point: the location of the needle into the skin is normally painless: the mere contact of the tip of the needle is not felt when it is precisely in point, then it is one or two millimeters away.

Traditionally, there are 360 points over the meridians that run throughout the body surface. However, other points were subsequently identified and, depending on the model used, there are more than 2 000 points.

The main meridians are 12 in number. They begin (or end) at the tip of a finger (or toe). According to the course of a river, they are correspondence on the body, they grow from their source (tip of a finger) to the center of the body. They have many tributaries, or secondary meridians, and feed on their energy to the flesh, muscles, internal organs and the whole body.

The lines of the body are covered by two specific meridians, one said earlier "conception", the other post said, "Governor." The meridians are therefore the ways in which the body receives this energy, which can be nutrients, providing information (especially from outside), but also gateways to certain diseases.

Physiological effects
The concept of a meridian is a concept empirically established at a time when we knew little or no functioning of the body. The body is covered networks to distribute information (nervous system) and products necessary to the functioning of cells (including blood), the concept of the meridian was thus an intuitive understanding of this distribution from vital organs.

Some pressure through the skin induces reflex actions, and palpation through the skin is part of the diagnostic approach (eg taking the pulse, palpation of lymph nodes). It would be tempting to see acupuncture as an empirical discovery of some of these phenomena.

But because of the complexity of operations, the effectiveness of a therapeutic method can be established only by clinical studies, including using statistical methods and comparison with the placebo effect. These studies must be conducted in double blind. So far, no study recognized internationally by the scientific community was unable to provide anything that would support the thesis of the existence of meridians.

Authors of recent scientific studies, in Germany using thermography dermal, claiming that demonstrate the application of a heat source on the acupuncture points results in a specific preferred diffusion paths corresponding to routes traditionally described for the meridians. These studies must now be analyzed by the scientific community before being considered valid.

The studies led by Dr. J.E.H. Niboyet revealed a decrease in electrical resistivity of the skin at the point of acupuncture.

In November 1985, a hoax was carried out to demonstrate an effect of acupuncture: Drs Darras, Albarede Vernejoul and claimed to have viewed a meridian with a radioactive isotope. The publication of their discovery coincided with the release of a popular book on acupuncture by the same authors. The magazine Science et Vie was one of the only public journals of the time to criticize the methodology. The findings were contradicted in 1988 by Professor Lazorthes, who reproduced the same experiment by following a strict protocol and showed that migration of the marker followed a venous route: the conclusions of 1985 on the existence of meridians were wrong.

Therapeutic acupuncture by western
According to the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture (2004), acupuncture may be considered as a complementary therapy to the following conditions. These indications are based on clinical experience and are not always controlled clinical research. Asterisks indicate that the World Health Organization validates the information in its publication Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trial.

* Abdominal distention / flatulence
* Control of acute and chronic pain
Allergic sinusitis
* Anesthesia for patients at high risk or patients with a history of adverse reactions to anesthetics
* Anxiety, panic attacks
* Arthritis / arthrosis
* Atypical chest pain
* Bursitis, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome
* Gastro-intestinal function (nausea and vomiting, esophageal spasm, hyperacidity, irritable bowel)
* Syndromes of cervical and lumbar spine
* Constipation, diarrhea
* Coughing with indications against drug
* Addiction (drugs)
* Dysmenorrhea, pelvic pain
* Shoulder pain
* Headache (migraine and tension), vertigo (Meniere disease), tinnitus
* Idiopathic palpitations, sinus tachycardia
* Pain, edema, enhanced healing process in cases of fractures
* Muscle spasms, tremors, tics, contractures
* Neuralgias (trigeminal, herpes zoster, postherpetic pain, other)
* Paresthesia
Persistent hiccups
* Phantom limb pain
* Plantar fasciitis
* Ileus post-traumatic and post-operative
* Premenstrual syndrome (Some authors remain very skeptical about the effectiveness of acupuncture in this case; experiments acupressure, a form of traditional treatment near acupuncture, on the contrary would have validated the effectiveness of points 'acupuncture for this indication
* Certain dermatoses (urticaria, pruritus, eczema, psoriasis)
* Sequelae of stroke (aphasia, hemiplegia)
* Disabled drivers seventh cranial nerve
* Severe hyperthermia
* Sprains and contusions
* Urinary incontinence, retention (neurogenic, spastic, adverse reactions to drugs)

Others advocate the use of acupuncture for infertility, in the context of in vitro fertilization. Acupuncture could improve the success rate of IVF. It is used in some English-speaking countries including the United States.

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