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DoctorGetWell's Monthly Column
Dr. Alex Tatevian has maintained a monthly acupuncture column in the health section of the Federal Hill Gazette since 1999.      
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  Federall Hill Gazette; December 2000

What is acupuncture? Is it about sticking needles?

Question:
Recently I was asked the same "old" question: What is acupuncture? Is it about sticking needles?

Answer:
   The question is not as superficial as it seems. We know that surgery is more than just "cutting with knife". So is acupuncture.
   Yes, the word "acu-puncture" translates from Latin as "penetration with needle". Usually acupuncture is defined as "technique, as for relieving pain and mobilizing the body's healing response, in which thin needles are inserted into the body at specific points". But... the real science and practice of acupuncture is not as mach about needles as it is about points. By stimulating those specific points an acupuncturist can address different illnesses or, in the words of traditional Chinese medicine, regulate flow of energy. Some of the points are known for thousands of years, some recently discovered, altogether about 400 of them.
   The correct selection of points, combination and sequence, as well as the choice of technique, individually tailored to each patient - that's what makes the treatment successful. What can be used to stimulate those points can vary greatly: needles, electricity, heat, cold, laser, vibration and so on, separately and in combination. Even simply using the finger sometimes can do the job.
   Why do we "stick to the needles"? The needle remains the most known, predictable and reliable tool that was used from antiquity. But new technologies offer alternatives, and if you are not fond of needles (I wonder why!), trying safe and non-invasive laser or electropuncture would be a smart thing to do.
 
 
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