- Acupuncture is based on the notion that the body's vital energy force,
chi, travels through known channels or "meridians." The acupuncturist
inserts tiny, thin sterile needles at particular, selected points on the body
to unblock or correct the flow of energy. These needles are hardly felt as they
are inserted and are left in place for 15 to 20 minutes. Some patients report
immediate improvement, others feel exhilarated, while some feel like sleeping.
In some cases, patients say their condition worsens before it improves. No
contemporary scientific explanation exists as to how or why acupuncture works.
- Moxibustion is a variation sometimes employed. Moxibustion is the slow
burning on or over the body of special herbal "cones." These are placed on
specific acupoints and provide penetrating, relaxing heat.
- Massage is often recommended, and a deep finger pressure technique known as
acupressure is often used to promote the proper flow
- Diet is considered essential to good health, and what might be called
"kitchen medicine" is just another aspect of herbalism. One example is a
delicious black bean soup that is traditionally eaten by women in China
after childbirth and each menstrual cycle.
- Therapeutic exercises are sometimes prescribed as well. In both the exact
and flowing movements of tai chi, and the breathing techniques of Qi Dong
exercise is considered essential to relieving stress and promoting the smooth flow of chi.