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The Origin of Needles and Moxibustion in Acupuncture New York

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Acupuncture New York is many times combined with moxibustion therapy in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).  These combined modalities are so inextricably related to each other that they have a corresponding name; zhenjiu.  Zhen means needle while jiu means to burn.  Because these two treatments are used very often, a neologism called acu-moxa is now used for this treatment.  To better appreciate this treatment, the need to understand their origins becomes necessary.

Moxibustion is one of the modalities comprising TCM.  It treats sicknesses by energizing the meridians and acupuncture points with heat. Moxibustion was invented directly as a consequence of the discovery of fire by primitive humans.  Plants and animals tend to thrive in warm climate than cold.  Using heat as a form of treatment is universal and can be proven by evidence of its usage in the ancient Rome and Greece.  Early humans have figured out that fire can not only keep them warm and cook their food but also can cure or relieve their maladies.

With needles, however, allowing oneself to be stuck with needles is not a normal activity one does to one’s body even when in pain or sickness.  Most, if not all people would rather not be inserted with needles; in fact, needles to humans is associated to injury and/or pain.  Being pricked with a needle always elicits an uneasy or painful sensation even if the needles used are thin and/or short.  A recent study reported that needles with the size of acupuncture needles when used on rabbits can cause damage to more than a dozen nerve fibers.  When one reflects on how thick and big the needles were used in antiquity, one can probably guess the trauma of the patient then when these needles were used in his/her body.

Even if acupuncture, under the hands of a less skilled acupuncturist, can be painful, it does not cause lasting or severe injury.  Many people, especially those suffering from acute or chronic disorders can and are willing to endure the needles if it meant treating their problems.  Most people in the West are frightened of pain and acupuncture treatment for them may seem a frightening prospect.  It does not help when inexperienced and poorly trained acupuncturists are in the news and reported to have botched treatments.

Acupuncture is a uniquely Chinese invention or discovery.  There are no chronicles of this type of treatment recorded in other ancient cultures.  Traditional and medical acupuncturists up to a point still follow the same doctrines and apply needles in the same manner as were espoused on the earliest discourse on acupuncture (around 104-34 BC). Even with the integration of modern technology and other modern techniques such as point stimulation or acupressure, needle use is still the more common method that acupuncture treatment uses.