Acupuncture: Finding a Home in America
"Acupuncture has stood the test of time through twenty-five hundred years, twelve Chinese dynasties, and hundreds of millions of patients," states the founder of the first American school of acupuncture ("Acupuncture" 54). Scientific research is now proving that acupuncture, for years a myth explained only by Chinese culture, is an effective medical practice in the United States. This idea, along with newly found and scientifically-proven benefits of acupuncture, are causing doctors and scientists to take a second look at this "original Chinese practice of puncturing the body . . . at specific points to cure disease or relieve pain . . ." as a possible new source of medicine in America (Webster's 12).
Patrick LaRiccia, MD, director of the Acupuncture Pain Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia says of acupuncture, "There is the Western model, which states that acupuncture releases the bodies own pain killers, known as endorphins.
And there is the Oriental approach, which believes that acupuncture restores the normal flow of energy, or 'Qi,' throughout the body (Abrams 102)." To truly understand the effect of acupuncture on America, one must be able to grasp the Chinese art of it, as well as the Western model, or American theory. While the Chinese use a philosophy in which the world is being divided by two forces, the yin and yang, American doctors have come to explain this ancient practice with scientific fact.
To understand the uses of acupuncture today, it is important to first know its origins. Acupuncture can be traced back to the stone ages when the probable belief and use of it was that by sticking needles into the body, acupuncture would release evil spirits (Kingston 8). Soon after, practitioners of this alternative medicine most likely found that...