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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; April 2002

Acupuncture Basics: Ancient Theories

My acupuncturist talks about "chi" and "meridians". I am confused and embarrassed to ask her what she means. I also want to know what she is looking for when she asks me to stick out my tongue. Can you explain?

   Traditional acupuncture is based on ancient theories in which the chi, or life energy, is seen as flowing through distinct meridians, or pathways, which run through the human body and correspond to certain organs and functions. The meridians connect to each other and together compose a very complex network. If there is an obstruction or stagnation of energy in any of these meridians, it leads to a distortion of the whole system and ultimately affects health and well-being.
    The meridians ascend to the surface of the body and can be accessed through acupuncture points. By stimulating these points, acupuncture regulates and restores the harmonious energetic balance in the meridians and, as a result, restores health.
    The art and science of acupuncture is to identify which meridian is distorted.
    In ancient times, laboratory analyses and tests were not available and acupuncture diagnosis relied mostly on observation. Observation of the skin, eyes, tongue, pulse, etc. can tell a seasoned acupuncturist more than you can imagine.
   Different schools emphasize different techniques. For example, Japanese acupuncturists do not examine the tongue, but instead palpate the abdomen as part of a routine exam and treatment.
   Therefore, it appears that your doctor practices the Classical Chinese style, the most popular in the field. There is no evidence that one school is superior or more effective than the other.
    Alex Tatevian, DA
   You can ask your questions on our website DoctorGetWell.org or email them to getwell@doctor.com or send them to:
   Alex Tatevian, DA
   Acu Well Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine
   141 Airport Road, Warwick, RI 02889
   Phone (401) 738-9355
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