Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Making Comeback
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day has been observed each year on October 24 since 2002 to increase public awareness of the progress, promise and benefits of these ancient Eastern modalities. Oriental medicine is a comprehensive healthcare system encompassing a variety of traditional therapies that have been used for more than 3,000 years to diagnose and treat illness, prevent disease and improve well-being. Acupuncture is just one of the essential elements of Oriental medicine. Other elements include Chinese herbology, bodywork such as acupressure and shiatsu, diet and exercise, tai chi and qigong.
All Oriental medicine modalities are intended to improve the flow of qi , an intangible life force that is said to regulate the body's spiritual, emotional, mental and physical balance, and is influenced by the opposing forces of yin (negative energy) and yang (positive energy). According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, when yin and yang are balanced, they work together with the natural flow of qi to help the body achieve and maintain health.
Acupuncture has moved more into the mainstream as the Joint Commission introduced a revised pain assessment and management standards for accredited hospitals, to include use of non-pharmacologic treatments and strategies, including acupuncture as one option, by licensed independent practitioners.
According to a National Institutes of Health consensus panel of scientists, researchers and practitioners, clinical studies show that acupuncture is an effective treatment for nausea caused by surgical anesthesia and cancer-related treatments, as well as for dental pain experienced after surgery. The panel also found that acupuncture is useful by itself or combined with conventional therapies to treat addiction, headaches, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, lower back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and asthma, and to assist in stroke rehabilitation. Outside the U.S., the World Health Organization lists more than 40 conditions for which acupuncture may be a useful treatment. With more than 100,000 preventable deaths per year due to opioids in America alone, the profession is working to bring to light all the benefits of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, especially acupuncture services to combat addiction and pain.
The National Institute of Health National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health compiled evidence on how complementary health therapies including acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, massage therapy and relaxation techniques are effective in treating chronic pain. The study showed that acupuncture in combination with yoga is the most effective therapy for back pain and acupuncture, with tai chi as the most effective treatment for osteoarthritis pain in the knee.
Since 2002, official proclamations regarding Oriental Medicine Day have been issued by the governors of Delaware, Hawaii, New Jersey, New Mexico and Tennessee, as well as by local leaders in Austin, Texas; Boston and Watertown, Massachusetts; Cherry Hill, New Jersey; and Miami, Florida. Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day is also supported through a unique international partnership of organizations including the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Pakistan.
For more information, visit the National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health at nccih.nih.gov.