The mystery behind the age old acupuncture and its secret healing method continues to beguile people to this day. Though a medical student focusing on the Western form of treatment, I have always had a keen interest in the nature of acupuncture. My medical studies only permitted one course in traditional Chinese medicine and I used the opportunity to learn as much as I could about the ancient treatment. At that point I only knew the theory and never had a real life experience using the medicine. I was somewhat fearful of attempting acupuncture because the insertion of the needles looked like a painful ordeal.
As an out-going person who looks for new adventures in Wuhan, sometimes I take walks and explore new areas of the city. It is a fun activity in which I have met fascinating people and places in Wuhan. On one such adventure I stumbled upon an old antique street. It reminded me of an old French film I had seen years ago with its architecture, art gallery and restaurants. How was it possible to have lived in Wuhan for almost five years and missed out on such a beautiful area in down town Hankou? I proceeded to move along the street eager to soak in the scenery of the environment. Further into the street people were entering a building that appeared to be an apartment. A young man came out of the building wearing a white lab coat. It looked very much like a doctors lab coat worn in a hospital. My curiosity got the best of me and I entered to discover more about the place.
To my surprise, Luc Pauwels, a school Principal and my mentor in writing was waiting to do his acupuncture. He was there being treated for shoulder pain which was due to a minor injury. He was already one month into his treatment and felt that the acupuncture was having a positive effect on him. This sparked my interest to learn more about the practical aspect of acupuncture and this led me to write an article about it.
I was later introduced to Luc’s doctor, Dr. Wei before he began the treatment. Dr. Wei is a well established acupuncturist who has been practicing Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 40 years. He was very delighted to share his knowledge about acupuncture and gave me a tour of his Clinic and a free copy of his published book on acupuncture.
He explained that as a practitioner they will first take a detailed medical history, pulse, examine the tongue and study the skin or look for other physical signs that might have a bearing on the patient’s condition. An acupressure practitioner will use deep finger pressure at points along the meridian lines to reduce tension. The energy or qi continually flows through the body via a series of pathways known as meridians. There are fourteen major meridians that relate to different organs, tissue types, emotions and bodily functions.
How it Works
Acupuncture needles stimulate specific nerve fibers that modify pain transmission in the spinal cord as well as stimulating the secretion of pain relieving endorphins and other neurotransmitters in the brain. The doctor inserted the needles from 1/5 inch in depth and according to Luc its a painless procedure. Since it was pain free I felt more confident of using acupuncture in the future. Many celebrities such as Kobe Bryant, Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian have also boasted about the benefits of acupuncture.
When to consider Acupuncture
Acupuncture is well known for its success in the realm of pain relief. In fact, it is effective in treating a wide range of illnesses. It can also be used along with other forms of treatment. If you are still terrified of needles piercing your flesh, no need to worry. Acupuncturist are trained in several healing techniques, and only one of them uses needles. There’s acupressure, cupping, gua sha, moxibustion, ear seeds, Qigong, herb remedies among others. While touring Dr.Wei’s Clinic, I recalled seeing one of his assistants using moxibustion on a patient. It involved holding a burning stick of moxa close to various acupuncture points, until the skin warms and reddens. It also helps in clearing the meridian pathways. Some of the commonly treated diseases and conditions include the following:
Gastro intestinal system:Hiccup, nausea/vomiting, indigestion, chronic gastritis, constipation, diarrhea etc.
Respiratory system and Ent disorders- hearing loss, chronic bronchitis, tinnitus, hay fever etc.
Neurological and musculoskeletal disorders: headache, migraine, facial palsy, Meniere’s disease, neck pain, pain in shoulder, lower back pain, osteoarthrithis etc.
Gynaecological disorders: dysmenorrhea, pre menstrual tension(PMT), menoupausal syndrome, disorders of lactation etc.
Who Should Not Use Acupuncture
People with bleeding disorders or who take blood thinners may have increased risk of bleeding. Electrical stimulation of the needles may cause problems for people with pacemaker or other electrical devices. It is important to not skip conventional care or rely on acupuncture alone to treat diseases or severe pain.
Needles that are not sterile can cause infection. Make sure your practitioner uses sterile needles which are thrown away after one use. In some cases needles inserted too deeply can puncture lungs or gallbladder or cause problems with the blood vessel. Thats why it is important to use well trained practitioners like Dr.Wei and his team.
Acupuncture vs Western Medicine
Western medical treatments consist primarily of drugs and surgery. It works to give fast relief from the pain, but it may actually slow or even stop the necessary healing process. Acupuncture patients have to wait a longer time to get total relief. In some cases remedy of chronic conditions can be 20-30 treatments. However, only experience will reveal the number that takes you to the health goal you want to achieve. For ongoing stress relief, people choose to get acupuncture weekly, biweekly or monthly. Regular exercise, regular acupuncture, a nutritious balanced diet and natural health care is also very important to practice.
Contact a Practitioner
Dr.Wei’s Clinic is open
Monday – Friday 8:30 – 17:30
Saturday and Sunday 8:30-12:00
Address – 武汉市中医医院 湖北省武汉市江汉区黎黄陂路49号 View Location