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Acupuncture theory is the theory of traditional Chinese medicine, which includes a whole range of concepts that are very different to those of Western medicine.
Although different, many of them are easier to understand than those of Western medicine. They also explain many conditions in terms of energy - which is a problem because until you have it explained to you, saying something is a a problem of 'energy' means nothing.
So this site aims to explain Chinese medicine and its concepts in English. But there are certain basic concepts that come up again and again and I have a page on most of them. Some of them you may have heard of ...
If you have questions or views about acupuncture theory, click here.
Otherwise, read on: you can still ask a question later if you wish, (and you don't have to identify yourself).
And we've hardly started, because there are many other less well-known theories and systems of treatment with acupuncture that are very effective.
Like the blind men describing the elephant from what they felt, (the trunk, the legs, the tail, the ears, the belly - all feeling quite different) none of these is a full description. The different theories fit together and complement one another. Underlying them may well be another more comprehensive theory or pattern, which nobody has yet noticed, even after some 4000 years.
Western Science describes traditional Chinese medicine theory as a pseudoscience, which is probably true if only because nobody has had the time or energy to prove otherwise. Pseudoscience or not, it's been in continuous use and evolution for millennia, which is rather more than can be said of Western Science - hardly 250 years old.
What's more, Chinese medicine quickly embraced Western science and Western medicine and its medications as another useful tool in the armoury for Chinese physicians. Western understanding of anatomy, physiology, pathology, and so on were incorporated with ease.
Not so the approach of Western medicine and science which remains extremely sceptical and unwilling or unable to absorb or recognise what Chinese medicine can offer.
All these ancient concepts will no doubt be explained in scientific terms one day but when they are, they'll be newly discovered and someone will get a Nobel prize. Meantime, what we have is perhaps just an inexact shorthand for it all.
Anyhow, homily done. If you are a patient, your acupuncturist will choose which acupuncture theory is appropriate for you.
This choice helps him decide which acupuncture points to use and how to interpret the result.
Sometimes acupuncturists base their treatments for all their patients around one particular system or school of thought. They become experts in that particular way of diagnosing and treating their patients. They don't mind the occasional situation where that particular system is inappropriate.
Sometimes acupuncture points are chosen that embrace a number of different theories together or do a number of things at once. The art of choosing and combining acupuncture points is a huge and important subject: many books have been written about it.
Each acupuncture theory is discussed on a separate page. Click on the following links for examples:
Then there are other ideas which go a long way to explaining much modern chronic disease. For example, have a look at the terrorist lurking within.
please don't be tempted to treat yourself. Go to someone qualified!
Even acupuncturists normally go to other acupuncturists for treatment. See below for how to find an acupuncturist!
Underlying acupuncture theory is the theory of Qi, in excess, deficiency, moving the wrong way in disease and the right way when promoting health. It explains why we get ill.
All of us, from time to time, get Qi Stagnation - when life just will not move properly and smoothly, making us anxious, tense, worried, fearful, angry, frustrated, tired, fed-up and emotional.
In due course, if this continues, we get physical symptoms - disease.
Either find out more about this at Qi Stagnation OR, because that page barely touches on the subject and eventually I wrote a book on it, see below.
If you live in the Edinburgh area of Scotland, where the author of this site (and of the books described below) works, click on Edinburgh Acupuncturist.
If you live elsewhere, click on BAcC.
3000 years of Chinese being stressed, and at last, here's a book showing how all that experience can help you!
By the author of this website, it explains in simple English how to use stress to improve and enhance your life.
NB You can also order 'Qi Stagnation - Signs of Stress' from your bookseller.
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