Traditional Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion
Acupuncture and moxibustion are two distinct therapeutic approaches
to curing a variety of ailments. Acupuncture treats diseases by
puncturing points of the body with different types of needles.
Moxibustion applies heat produced by ignited moxawood over certain
points in the body. Although different equipment and materials
are used, the therapeutic and preventive reuslts are similar.
Both promote the circulation of qi and blood in the channels by
stimulating the key points and channels of the body. Acupuncture
and moxi-bustion are frequently used together to treat ailments
ranging from internal problems to gynecological and pediatric
diesases including ailments of the eyes, lips, nose and tongue.
The results are often quick with little or no side effects.
The locations where needles are inserted or where heat is applied are known as points. By focusing on specific points, different effects or reactions can be produced in corresponding parts of the body. The discovery of these points and the effects of stimulating them have led to the theory of channels and collaterals. Early acupuncturists believed that needle manipulation at a point would affect other parts of the body along a deined route. Points at different
locations would also produce similar results. Thus, acupuncturists studied the relationship between these points and developed the theory of channels and collaterals.
The vertically distributed "trunk lines" were described by physicians in ancient times as "channels" while the large and small branches of these "channels" were referred to as "collaterals". Together a network can be defined as consisting of l2 channels, l5 col-
laterals and 8 extraordinary channels. This network spreads throughout the they and links various points of the body.
The points forming the network were discovered one by one during the long history of acupuncture and moxibustion. Unearthed materials and historical records show that impressive results were obtained as early as the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - 220A.D.). The earliest success with acupuncture and moxibustion is recorded in the Shiji (Historical Records) by Sima Qian, a historian of the Han Dynasty. An account is given in "Biographies of Bian Que" who brought patients out of comas by using acupuncture.
For thousands of year acupuncture and moxibustion therapies have been popular as methods of preventing and treating diseases. They have served as important components of Chinese medicine.