In biofeedback ultra-modern sophisticated instruments are used to measure physiological responses. by this technique a person learns how to regulate certain body functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure, or brain wave patterns, that are normally considered to be involuntary. So we may say, biofeedback is a method for learning to increase one’s ability to control biological responses, such as blood pressure, muscle tension, and heart rate. The name biofeedback refers to the biological signals that are fed back, or returned, to the patient in order for the patient to develop techniques of manipulating them.

Biofeedback enables a person to gain some element of voluntary control over autonomic body functions. It may be used clinically to treat certain conditions, such as hypertension and migraine headache.

Biofeedback may also be useful for the following health problems:

• anorexia nervosa
• anxiety
• asthma
• autism
• back pain
• bed wetting
• chronic pain
• constipation
• depression
• diabetes
• fecal incontinence
• epilepsy and related seizure disorders
• head injuries
• high blood pressure
• learning disabilities
• motion sickness
• muscle spasms
• sexual disorders, including pain with intercourse
• spinal cord injuries

Biofeedback has been used to successfully treat a number of disorders and their symptoms, including temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Raynaud’s syndrome, epilepsy, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), migraine headaches, anxiety, depression, traumatic brain injury, and sleep disorders. Illnesses that may be triggered at least in part by stress are also targeted by biofeedback therapy. Certain types of headaches, high blood pressure, bruxism (teeth grinding), post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, substance abuse, and some anxiety disorders may be treated successfully by teaching patients the ability to relax and release both muscle and mental tension. Biofeedback is often just one part of a comprehensive treatment program for some of these disorders. NASA has used biofeedback techniques to treat astronauts who suffer from severe space sickness, during which the autonomic nervous system is disrupted. Scientists at the University of Tennessee have adapted these techniques to treat individuals suffering from severe nausea and vomiting that is also rooted in autonomic nervous system dysfunction. Side Effects of Biofeedback There are no known side effects to properly administered biofeedback or neurofeedback sessions.

Training & Certification in Biofeedback Individuals wishing to try biofeedback should contact a healthcare professional trained in biofeedback techniques. Licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, and physicians frequently train their patients in biofeedback techniques, or can recommend a specialist who does. In some cases, a licensed professional may employ a biofeedback technician who works under their direct guidance when treating patients. There are several national organizations for biofeedback therapists, including the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America, which also certifies therapists in the practice. Types of biofeedback instrumentation Electromyogram (EMG)An electromyogram (EMG) is a test that is used to record the electrical activity of muscles. When muscles are active, they produce an electrical current. This current is usually proportional to the level of the muscle activity. An EMG is also referred to as a myogram. EMGs can be used to detect abnormal muscle electrical activity that can occur in many diseases and conditions, including muscular dystrophy, inflammation of muscles, pinched nerves, peripheral nerve damage (damage to nerves in the arms and legs), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (also known as Lou Gehrig disease), myasthenia gravis, disc herniation, and others. An Electromyogram is the most common form of biofeedback measurement. Galvanic skin response trainingWith Galvanic skin response training, sensors measure the activity of your sweat glands and the amount of perspiration on your skin alerting you to anxiety. This information can be useful in treating emotional disorders such as phobias, anxiety and stuttering. This is the method most commonly used by lie detector machines. It is the most popular form of biofeedback, with over 500,000 hand-held GSR2 units having been purchased by consumers since the early ’70s; it is also one of the biofeedback methods used by Calmlink and the video game series Journey to Wild Divine. Galvanic Skin Response meters are also now gaining popularity in hypnotherapy and psychotherapy practice where subtle physiological changes indicating emotional arousal can be more easily detected than by observation alone.

Electroencephalography (EEG)Brain waves are attributed to electrical activities of the brain which are manifest as alternating potential differences at the scalp surface. When acquired through scalp electrodes, such potential differences result in time-continuous signals termed electroencephalogram (EEG). From a physical point of view, it is opportune to model the wave-like qualities of EEG as a finite sum of harmonic oscillations at discrete vibration rates triggered by a central pace-maker. Hence, brain-waves can analoguously be interpreted like sound waves in acoustics which consist of a fundamental oscillation superimposed by higher harmonics. Each of these partial tones is uniquely characterized by 2 quantities, its frequency (“pitch”) and its amplitude (“loudness”). An EEG monitors the activity of brain waves linked to different mental states, such as wakefulness, relaxation, calmness, light sleep and deep sleep.

Bach Flower Remedy

It is believed that the fragrant essences of certain flower aids the healing process and increases spiritual awareness. British homeopathic physician Edward Bach discovered the healing powers of flower extracts.

Bach flower therapy is the specialized system of complementary treatment where medicines derived from specialized medicinal plants are advocated for holistic treatment. The Bach Flower Essences Preparation: The Bach Flower Essences are made 100% naturally from spring water infused with wild flowers. Flowers are sun-steeped. If lack of sunlight or other reasons the flowers may be boiled. The Essences contain 27% grape brandy as a preservative. Because the remedies are extremely dilute they do not have a characteristic scent or taste of the plant. The Bach Flower Essences gently restore the balance between mind and body by casting out negative emotions, such as, fear, worry, hatred and indecision which interfere with the equilibrium of the being as a whole. The Bach Flower Essences allow peace and happiness to return to the sufferer so that the body is free to heal itself. Bach Flower Essences in Pregnancy:Bach Flower Essences are proved very supportive and caring during pregnancy. Though the expecting mothers pass through a wide range of emotions like, fear, tiredness and other emotions related to pregnancy. The Bach Flower Essences reinstate peace and calmness of mind and reduces anxiety.

Bach Flower Essences in Children: shyness, tantrums, fear, nightmares, low self-esteem etc… are a few childhood emotions. The Bach Flower Essences help children in balancing childhood emotions. Bach Flower Essences and Pets:The Bach Flower Essences are very helpful in emotions of our pets. It is very successful in calming hyperactive dogs, fearful cats, newly arrived puppies Rescue Remedy: The emergency combination of Essences created by Dr. Bach is called Rescue Remedy. It contains five different Essences: Star of Bethlehem, Clematis, Impatiens, Cherry Plum and Rock Rose. Rescue Remedy is helpful in case of emergencies or everyday stress, stressful events, anxiety of exam or interviews. If taken the wrong Essence Nothing is going to happen if you take the wrong Essence, the Essences only work on the energy level that we are having problems with. When you take the wrong Essence nothing happens.

List of the thirty eight remedies discovered by Dr. Bach and directed at a specific characteristic or emotional state.

1. Agrimony – mental torture behind a cheerful face
2. Aspen – fear of unknown things
3. Beech – intolerance
4. Centaury – inability to say ‘no’
5. Cerato – lack of trust in one’s own decisions
6. Cherry Plum – fear of the mind giving way
7. Chestnut Bud (made with horse chestnut buds) – failure to learn from mistakes
8. Chicory – selfish, possessive love
9. Clematis – dreaming of the future without working in the present
10. Crab Apple – cleansing remedy, also for self-hatred
11. Elm – overwhelmed by responsibility
12. Gentian – discouragement after a setback
13. Gorse – hopelessness and despair
14. Heather – self-centeredness and self-concern
15. Holly – hatred, envy and jealousy
16. Honeysuckle – living in the past
17. Hornbeam – procrastination, tiredness at the thought of doing something
18. Impatiens – impatience
19. Larch – lack of confidence and self-esteem
20. Mimulus – fear of known things
21. Mustard – deep gloom for no reason
22. Oak – the plodder who keeps going past the point of exhaustion
23. Olive – exhaustion following mental or physical effort
24. Pine – guilt
25. Red Chestnut (a type of horse chestnut) – over-concern for the welfare of loved ones
26. Rock Rose – terror and fright
27. Rock Water – self-denial, rigidity and self-repression
28. Scleranthus – inability to choose between alternatives
29. Star of Bethlehem – shock
30. Sweet Chestnut – Extreme mental anguish, when everything has been tried and there is no light left
31. Vervain – over-enthusiasm
32. Vine – dominance and inflexibility
33. Walnut – protection from change and unwanted influences
34. Water Violet – pride and aloofness
35. White Chestnut (made with horse chestnut blossoms) – unwanted thoughts and mental arguments
36. Wild Oat – uncertainty over one’s direction in life
37. Wild Rose – drifting, resignation, apathy
38. Willow – self-pity and resentment


The term Aromatherapy was coined by French chemist, René Maurice Gattefossé. Aromatherapy is a generic term that refers to any of the various traditions that make use of essential oils sometimes in combination with other alternative medical practices and spiritual beliefs. Aromatherapy is the treatment or prevention of disease by use of essential oils (An essential oil is any concentrated, hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants).

It is defined as follows in Medical Encyclopedia, Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of plant-derived, aromatic essential oils to promote physical and psychological well-being. It is sometimes used in combination with massage and other therapeutic techniques as part of a holistic treatment approach. In France Aromatherapy is incorporated into mainstream medicine, where the use of the anti-septic, antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties of oils in the control of infections is emphasized

Materials in Aromatherapy
Essential oils: Fragrant oils extracted from plants chiefly through.
Absolutes: Fragrant oils extracted primarily from flowers or delicate plant tissues.
Phytoncides: Various volatile organic compounds from plants that kill microbes.
Herbal distillates or hydrosols: The aqueous by-products of the distillation process.
Infusions: Aqueous extracts of various plant material.
Carrier oils: Typically oily plant base triacylglycerides that are used to dilute essential oils for use on the skin.

Essential oils, phytoncides and other natural VOCs work in different ways. At the scent level they activate the limbic system and emotional centers of the brain. When applied to the skin (commonly in form of “massage oils” i.e. 1-10% solutions of EO in carrier oil) they activate thermal receptors, and kill microbes and fungi. Internal application of essential oil preparations (mainly in pharmacological drugs; generally not recommended for home use apart from dilution – 1-5% in fats or mineral oils, or hydrosoles) may stimulate the immune system.

Popular uses of aromatherapy essential oil
Basil is used in perfumery for its clear, sweet and mildly spicy aroma. In aromatherapy, it is used for sharpening concentration, for its uplifting effect on depression, and to relieve headaches and migraines. Basil oil has many chemotypes and some are known to be emmenagogues and should be avoided during pregnancy.
Bergamot is one of the most popular oils in perfumery. It is an excellent insect repellent and may be helpful for both the urinary tract and for the digestive tract. It is useful for skin conditions linked to stress, such as cold sores and chicken pox, especially when combined with eucalyptus oil. Bergamot is a flavoring agent in Earl Grey tea. But cold-pressed Bergamot oil contains bergaptene, a strong photosensitizer when applied to the skin, so only distilled or ‘bergaptene-free’ types can be topically used.
Black pepper has a sharp and spicy aroma. Common uses include stimulating the circulation and for muscular aches and pains. Skin application is useful for bruises, since it stimulates the circulation.
Citronella oil, obtained from a relative of lemongrass, is used as an insect repellant and in perfumery.
• Tea tree oil and many other essential oils have topical (external) antimicrobial (i.e. antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, or antiparasitic) activity and are used as antiseptics and disinfectants.
Eucalyptus oil
Sandalwood oil
Thyme oil
Clove oil is a topical analgesic, especially useful in dentistry. It is also used an antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, and antiemetic.
Lavender oil is used as an antiseptic, to soothe minor cuts and burns, to calm and relax, and to soothe headaches and migraines.
Yarrow oil is used to reduce joint inflammation and relieve cold and influenza symptoms.
Jasmine, Rose, Sandalwood and Ylang-ylang oil are used as aphrodisiacs.
Lemon oil is uplifting and anti-stress/anti-depressant. In a Japanese study, lemon essential oil in vapour form has been found to reduce stress in mice.

The most popular aromatherapy essential oil with their attributes.
• Achillea oil. Anti-inflammatory and haemostatic. Against hypertension, insomnia and haemorrhoids. For gynecological diseases and neuralgia.
• Angelica oil. Carminative and relaxing. For heart, respiratory and skin problems, anorexia, asthma, stomach ulcer, arthritis and psoriasis.
• Aniseed oil. Emmenagogu, antispasmodic and tonic. For menstruation, menopause’s disease, dyspepsia, colitis, asthmatic bronchitis and tachycardia.
• Bassilicum oil. Tonic, refreshing, memory boosting and insectifuge. For headaches, insomnia, depression and nervous tension.
• Balsam (Canada) oil. Antiseptic and relaxing. For asthma, bronchitis, dejection and sore throat.
• Balsam (Peru) oil. Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, disinfectant. For wounds and stomach ulcer.
• Balsam (Tolu) oil. Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, excretory and antitussive.
• Benzoin oil. Excretory, calefacient, pulmonic and antiseptic. For acne, eczema, psoriasis, coughs and bad blood circulation.
• Bergamot oil. Refreshing, tonic and calming. For stress, depression and insomnia.
• Bitter Almond oil. Aromatic. Can cause eruption of the skin.
• Bitter Orange oil. Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, styptic, antibacterial, fungicide, stomachic and laxative. For stomachic problems, enteric fermentation, constipation, acne, greasy skin and dyspepsia.
• Cajeput oil. Antiseptic, calefacient. For respiratory infections, varicose veins and haemorrhoids.
• Calendula oil. Anti-bleeding, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, styptic, cicatrizant and fungicide. For burns, wounds, eczema, greasy skin, skin inflammation and eruption and against bites of insects.
• Cardamon oil. Antiseptic, diuretic emmenagogue and dilatant for blood vessels. For digestive system, bronchitis and enteric convulsion.
• Carrot (seed) oil. Antiseptic, diuretic, dilatant for blood vessels and emmenagogue. For dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, rheumatisms, arthritis, anemia, dyspepsia, anorexia, colics, and menstruation’s problems. It refreshes mature skin and relieves menstruation’s pain.
• Cedar oil. Insectifuge, antiseptic, calming, aphrodisiac, diuretic, styptic and fungicide. For acne, greasy skin, dandruff, hair loss, cough, bronchitis, cystitis, leucorrhoea, nervous tension and genitals’ itching. It helps hair regrowing and invigorates blood circulation.
• Chamomile (Blue) oil. Calming, refreshing, antiseptic and emollient. For skin infections and stomach derangement.
• Chamomile (Roman) oil. Calming, relaxant and antiseptic. For asthma and enteric parasites.
• Clove oil. Anti-infectious, antispasmodic, insectifuge, anti-fungicide and tonic. For migraine, vertigo, stress, toothache, acne, wounds, burns, sprains, colic, sea sickness and dyspepsia.
• Cinnamon oil. Antiseptic and antibacterial. For diarrhea, dyspepsia, bad blood circulation and rheumatisms.
• Citronella oil. Cardiotonic, antispasmodic, calming, insectifuge and anti-louse. For rheumatisms, insomnia, stress, depression, otitis, arthritis, various colics and pelvis pain.
• Cistus oil. Styptic, relaxing and calming. For elder skin and wrinkles.
• Coriander oil. Calefacient, tonic and peptic. For stress and insomnia.
• Cumin oil. Calefacient, tonic, and antiseptic. For dyspepsia, enteric convulsions and insomnia.
• Cypress oil. Deodorant, styptic, diuretic, calming and refreshing. For asthma, bronchitis, cellulites, greasy skin, phlebitis, suppuration, gynecological and circulation problems.
• Elecampane oil. Bactericidal, antifungal and antiparasitic. For mycosis, bronchitis and anemia.
• Eucalyptus oil. Antiseptic, analgesic, pesticide. For flu, cold, sinusitis, laryngitis, cough, coxalgia, neuralgia, rheumatisms and mental lucidity.
• Fennel seed oil. Alleviative, anti-parasitic, purge and against enteric fermentations. For all gynecological problems, water retention and cystitis.
• Fir (Black) oil. Antimicrobial, ejaculatory and tonic. For rheumatisms, respiratory diseases, flu, cough and stress.
• Fir (Siberian) oil. Antiseptic and refreshing. For acne and bronchitis.
• Frankincense oil. Refreshing, anti-inflammatory and immunizer. For asthma and bronchitis.
• Ginger oil. Calefacient and peptic. For sea sickness and various enteric diseases.
• Grape – Fruit oil. Antioxidant and antispasmodic. For cellulites, obesity and urine retention.
• Geranium oil. Circulation tonic, anti-ageing, styptic, anti-cellulite, haemostatic and insectifuge. For stress, nervousness, urine retention, cellulites, haemorrhoids, greasy skin, menopause’s and gynecological problems.
• Helichrysum oil. For wounds, burns, thrombosis, cirrhosis and acne. It helps circulation and cholesterol problems.
• Hypericum oil. Styptic, calming, cicatrizant and anti-inflammatory. For enteric inflammation, healing internal and external injuries, various pains (back, neck, muscle). Also for greasy hair and dandruff.
• Hyssop oil. Antiseptic. For blood dialysis, tonsillitis and pneumonia.
• Jasmine oil. Relaxing, calming and aphrodisiac. For headache, menstrual period, dejection and nervous fatigue.
• Juniper oil. Anti-rheumatic, anti-toxic, emmenagogue and tonic. For nervous strain, stress, gynaecological diseases, arteriosclerosis, rheumatism, cellulites and obesity.
• Laurel oil. Insectifuge, antiseptic, diuretic, bactericide, fungicide, tonic and refreshing. For rheumatisms, wounds and hematoma.
• Lavender oil. Analgesic, diuretic, styptic, refreshing, relaxing, and calming. For rheumatisms, muscle’s pain, colics, dyspepsia, depression, headaches, hypertension, insomnia, stress and skin diseases.
• Lemon oil. Refreshing, stimulating, antimicrobial, febrifuge, diuretic, antitoxic, haemostatic and antiseptic. For rheumatisms, digestive and hepatic problems, greasy skin, arthritis, varicose veins, cellulites, obesity, brittle nails, flu, fever, sniffles and dyspepsia.
• Lemongrass oil. Analgesic, antidepressant, antiseptic and insecticidal. For digestive and hepatic problems.
• Mandarin oil. Calming, antispasmodic and anti-wrinkle. For acne, greasy skin, urine retention, obesity, dyspepsia, enteric problems and insomnia.
• Manuka oil. Antibacterial, fungicide and relaxant. For skin diseases, mycosis and psoriasis.
• Marigold oil. For mycosis, respiratory infections and enteric parasites.
• Marjoram oil. Calefacient, corroborant, antispasmodic and muscle booster. For arthritis, rheumatisms, lumbago, colics, strains, constipation, cellulites, dyspnoea, migraine, nervous tension, insomnia and dizziness.
• Mastic oil. Anti-inflammatory and antibiotic. For skin problems, arthritis, coxalgia, bronchitis and urethritis.
• May Chang oil. Antiseptic, deodorant, disinfectant, insecticidal stomachic and calming. For acne, dermatitis, sudation, bloat, dyspepsia, heart arrhythmia, hypertension and nervous tension.
• Melissa oil. Antispasmodic, refreshing and calming. For chronic cough, asthma, bronchitis, colics, menopause’s’ problems, stress, migraines, vertigo, insomnia, hysteria and erethism.
• Mentha oil. Antiseptic, tonic and diuretic. For acne, dyspepsia, sea sickness, fever, stress and migraine.
• Myrrh oil. Tonic and anti-ageing. For dysentery, hemorrhoids and hyperthyroidism.
• Myrtle oil. For skin invigoration, greasy skin, hormone counterbalance, hemorrhoids and ovary and thyroid problems.
• Neroli oil. Refreshing, calming and nervine. For parasites, hemorrhoids, exhaustion and depression.
• Niaouli oil. Antiseptic, anti-allergic against viruses. For otitis, laryngitis and hormone problems.
• Nutmeg oil. Peptic, calefacient, antioxidant and analgesic. For bloat, dyspepsia, sea sickness and muscle pain.
• Orange oil. Calming, antispasmodic and anti-wrinkle. For skin care, obesity, fluid retention, obesity, constipation, nervous tension and stress.
• Oregano oil. Antiseptic, deodorant, aphrodisiac, tonic, febrifuge, peptic and pesticide. For massage (especially to painful articulations), rheumatisms, cough, asthma, bronchitis and cellulites. Don not use undiluted oregano essential oil to skin.
• Patchouli oil. Relaxing and refreshing. For dry skin, acne, eczema. It helps nervous invigoration.
• Pefitgrain oil. Antiseptic, deodorant, peptic and tonic. For acne, sudation, greasy skin and hair, dyspepsia, insomnia and nervous exhaustion.
• Pennyroyal oil. Tonic, insectifuge and emmenagogue.
• Pepper (Black) oil. Tonic to digestive and respiratory system, waterworks, toothache, bronchitis, rheumatisms and sexual impotence.
• Pepper (Red) oil. Antiseptic. It invigorates blood circulation and helps flu healing.
• Ravensara oil. Anti-infectious, nervine and excretory. For insomnia and invigoration of chronic fatigue of the muscles.
• Rose oil. Calming, relaxing, antidepressant and anti-wrinkle. For chronic bronchitis, asthma and sexual impotence.
• Rosemary oil. Corroborant, emmenagogue, tonic and antiseptic. For memory, and energy boosting, muscle’s pain, rheumatisms, bad circulation. One of the best tonic massage oils. It helps hair growing.
• Rosewood oil. Anti-ageing and tonic. For depression, fatigue and respiratory infections.
• Sage oil. Antiseptic. For cold, fever, stomach’s and peptic problems, cellulites, obesity, herpes and menstruation’s problems. It is considered decongestant for blood circulation.
• Salvia Sclarea oil. Calming and antidepressant. For mental euphoria, menstruation’s problems, hemorrhoids and nervous distress.
• Sandalwood oil. Calming, anti-ageing and cardiotonic. Considered decongestant for vein and lymph.
• Savory oil. Tonic, calefacient, aphrodisiac, antibiotic and anti-parasitic. Don’t apply it undiluted to skin.
• Tarragon oil. Calefacient and stimulating. For peptic and equilibration of the nervous system.
• Tea Tree oil. Antiseptic and local anaesthetic. For mycosis, enteric parasites and various infections.
• Thuya oil. Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-bactericidal. It helps blood circulation.
• Thyme oil. Antiseptic and antibiotic. For bronchitis and otitis.
• Valerian oil. Soporific, hypotensive and calming. For insomnia, migraine, nervous dyspepsia and dandruff.
• Vanilla oil. Aromatic, balsam and aphrodisiac.
• Vetiver oil. Antiseptic, circulation tonic and antispasmodic. For acne, arthritis and rheumatism.
• Vitex agnus castus oil. For gynecological and menopause problems, toothache and prostate. Used in hormonotherapy.
• Ylang – Ylang oil. Calming, antiseptic, aphrodisiac. For hypertension and skin diseases.

Acupuncture- Acupressure

Acupuncture is thought to have originated in China and is most commonly associated with Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Different types of acupuncture (Japanese, Korean, and classical Chinese acupuncture) are practiced and taught throughout the world.  Acupuncture is a technique of inserting and manipulating filiform needles into “acupuncture points” on the body. According to acupuncture theory, this will restore health and well-being, and is particularly good at treating pain.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most commonly used medical procedures in the world. Originating in China more than 2,000 years ago. The term acupuncture describes a family of procedures involving stimulation of anatomical points on the body by a variety of techniques.

Disease is understood as a loss of homeostasis among the several systems of function, and treatment of disease is attempted by modifying the activity of one or more systems of function through the activity of needles, pressure, heat, etc. on sensitive parts of the body of small volume traditionally called “acupuncture points” in English, or “xue” in Chinese. This is referred to as treating “patterns of disharmony”.

Chinese medical theory holds that acupuncture works by normalizing the free flow of qi (a difficult-to-translate concept that pervades Chinese philosophy and is commonly translated as “vital energy”) throughout the body. Pain or illnesses are treated by attempting to remedy local or systemic accumulations or deficiencies of qi. Pain is considered to indicate blockage or stagnation of the flow of qi, and an axiom of the medical literature of acupuncture is “no pain, no blockage; no blockage, no pain”.

Treatment of acupuncture points may be performed along the twelve main or eight extra meridians, located throughout the body, or on tender points, called “ashi”. Of the eight extra meridians, only two have acupuncture points of their own. The other six meridians are “activated” by using a master and couple point technique which involves needling the acupuncture points located on the twelve main meridians that correspond to the particular extra meridian. Ten of the main meridians are named after organs of the body (Heart, Liver, etc.), and the other two are named after so called body functions (Heart Protector or Pericardium, and San Jiao). The meridians are capitalized to avoid confusion with a physical organ (for example, we write the “Heart meridian” as opposed to the “heart meridian”). The two most important of the eight “extra” meridians are situated on the midline of the anterior and posterior aspects of the trunk and head. The twelve primary meridians run vertically, bilaterally, and symmetrically and every channel corresponds to and connects internally with one of the twelve Zang Fu (“organs”). This means that there are six yin and six yang channels.

There are three yin and three yang channels on each arm, and three yin and three yang on each leg.

The three yin channels of the hand (Lung, Pericardium, and Heart) begin on the chest and travel along the inner surface (mostly the anterior portion) of the arm to the hand.

The three yang channels of the hand (Large intestine, San Jiao, and Small intestine) begin on the hand and travel along the outer surface (mostly the posterior portion) of the arm to the head.

The three yang channels of the foot (Stomach, Gallbladder, and Bladder) begin on the face, in the region of the eye, and travel down the body and along the outer surface (mostly the anterior and lateral portion) of the leg to the foot.

The three yin channels of the foot (Spleen, Liver, and Kidney) begin on the foot and travel along the inner surface (mostly posterior and medial portion) of the leg to the chest or flank.

The movement of qi through each of the twelve channels is comprised of an internal and an external pathway.

The external pathway is what is normally shown on an acupuncture chart and it is relatively superficial. All the acupuncture points of a channel lie on its external pathway. The internal pathways are the deep course of the channel where it enters the body cavities and related Zang-Fu organs. The superficial pathways of the twelve channels describe three complete circuits of the body.

The distribution of qi through the meridians is said to be as follows (the based on the demarcations in TCM’s Chinese Clock): Lung channel of hand taiyin to Large Intestine channel of hand yangming to Stomach

channel of foot yangming to Spleen channel of foot taiyin to Heart channel of hand shaoyin to Small Intestine

channel of hand taiyang to Bladder channel of foot taiyang to Kidney channel of foot shaoyin to Pericardium

channel of hand jueyin to San Jiao channel of hand shaoyang to Gallbladder channel of foot shaoyang to Liver

channel of foot jueyin then back to the Lung channel of hand taiyin.

What does acupuncture feel like?

Acupuncture needles are metallic, solid, and hair-thin. People experience acupuncture differently, but most feel no or minimal pain as the needles are inserted. Some people are energized by treatment, while others feel relaxed. Improper needle placement, movement of the patient, or a defect in the needle can cause soreness and pain during treatment.  This is why it is important to seek treatment from a qualified acupuncture practitioner.

How might acupuncture work?

Acupuncture is one of the key components of the system of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). In the TCM system of medicine, the body is seen as a delicate balance of two opposing and inseparable forces: yin and yang. Yin represents the cold, slow, or passive principle, while yang represents the hot, excited, or active principle. Among the major assumptions in TCM are that health is achieved by maintaining the body in a “balanced state” and that disease is due to an internal imbalance of yin and yang. This imbalance leads to blockage in the flow of qi (vital energy) along pathways known as meridians. It is believed that there are 12 main meridians and 8 secondary meridians and that there are more than 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body that connect with them.

According to the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture (2004), acupuncture may be considered as a complementary therapy for these conditions:

•           Abdominal distention/flatulence*

•           Acute and chronic pain control*

•           Allergic sinusitis *

•           Anesthesia for high-risk patients or patients with previous adverse responses to anesthetics

•           Anorexia

•           Anxiety, fright, panic*

•           Arthritis/arthrosis *

•           Atypical chest pain (negative workup)

•           Bursitis, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome*

•           Certain functional gastrointestinal disorders (nausea and vomiting, esophageal spasm, hyperacidity, irritable bowel)

•           Cervical and lumbar spine syndromes*

•           Constipation, diarrhea *

•           Cough with contraindications for narcotics

•           Drug detoxification *

•           Dysmenorrhea, pelvic pain *

•           Frozen shoulder *

•           Headache (migraine and tension-type), vertigo (Meniere disease), tinnitus *

•           Idiopathic palpitations, sinus tachycardia

•           In fractures, assisting in pain control, edema, and enhancing healing process

•           Muscle spasms, tremors, tics, contractures*

•           Neuralgias (trigeminal, herpes zoster, postherpetic pain, other)

•           Paresthesias *

•           Persistent hiccups*

•           Phantom pain

•           Plantar fasciitis*

•           Post-traumatic and post-operative ileus *

•           Selected dermatoses (urticaria, pruritus, eczema, psoriasis)

•           Sequelae of stroke syndrome (aphasia, hemiplegia) *

•           Seventh nerve palsy

•           Severe hyperthermia

•           Sprains and contusions

•           Temporo-mandibular joint derangement, bruxism *

•           Urinary incontinence, retention (neurogenic, spastic, adverse drug effect) *

*           Also included in the World Health Organization list of acupuncture indications.

Is acupuncture safe?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved acupuncture needles for use by licensed practitioners in 1996. The FDA requires that sterile, nontoxic needles be used and that they be labeled for single use by qualified practitioners only.

Note: When not delivered properly, acupuncture can cause serious adverse effects, including infections and punctured organs.

Will it be covered by my insurance?

Acupuncture is one of the CAM therapies that are more commonly covered by insurance. However, you should check with your insurer before you start treatment to see whether acupuncture will be covered for your condition and, if so, to what extent. Some insurance plans require preauthorization for acupuncture.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM): A whole medical system that was documented in China by the 3rd century B.C. TCM is based on a concept of vital energy, or qi, that is believed to flow throughout the body. It is proposed to regulate a person’s spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical balance and to be influenced by the opposing forces of yin (negative energy) and yang (positive energy). Disease is proposed to result from the flow of qi being disrupted and yin and yang becoming unbalanced. Among the components of TCM are herbal and nutritional therapy, restorative physical exercises, meditation, acupuncture, and remedial massage.

Safety and risks in Acupuncture

Because acupuncture needles penetrate the skin, many forms of acupuncture are invasive procedures, and therefore not without risk. Injuries are rare among patients treated by trained practitioners.

Certain forms of acupuncture such as the Japanese Tōyōhari and Shōnishin often use non-invasive techniques, in which specially-designed needles are rubbed or pressed against the skin. These methods are common in Japanese pediatric use.

Other risks of injury from the insertion of acupuncture needles include:

•  Nerve injury, resulting from the accidental puncture of any nerve.

•  Brain damage or stroke, which is possible with very deep needling at the base of the skull.

•  Pneumothorax from deep needling into the lung.

•  Kidney damage from deep needling in the low back.

•  Haemopericardium, or puncture of the protective membrane surrounding the heart, which may occur with needling over a sternal foramen (an undetectable hole in the breastbone which can occur in up to 10% of people.

•  Risk of terminating pregnancy with the use of certain acupuncture points that have been shown to stimulate the production of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and oxytocin.

These risks are slight and can all be avoided through proper training of acupuncturists. For correct perspective, their risk should be compared to the level of side effects of common drugs and biomedical treatment – see below. Graduates of medical schools and (in the US) accreditated acupuncture schools receive thorough instruction in proper technique so as to avoid these events.

Electroacupuncture is a form of acupuncture in which acupuncture needles are attached to a device that generates continuous electric pulses, generating a small electric current that flows between pairs of needles. Another term is Percutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (PENS).

Auriculotherapy/ Auricular Therapy (Ear Acupuncture)

Auriculotherapy is the stimulation of the auricle of the external ear for the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions in other parts of the body. It is also known as ear acupuncture or auricular acupuncture when the stimulation is achieved by the insertion of acupuncture needles, whereas the term auriculotherapy often refers to electrical stimulation of the surface of ear reflex points. Auriculotherapy is a quick, inexpensive, and non-invasive method of pain control. Ear acupuncture is also used as anesthesia during medical procedures. It is used frequently to help people overcome drug, tobacco, and alcohol addictions, and is used to treat chronic health conditions and diseases.

Meridian A traditional Chinese medicine term for each of the 20 pathways throughout the body for the flow of qi, or vital energy, accessed through acupuncture points.

Qi A Chinese term for vital energy or life force. In traditional Chinese medicine, qi (pronounced “chee”) is believed to regulate a person’s spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical balance, and to be influenced by the opposing forces of yin and yang.


Acupressure is similar to acupuncture, but using finger pressure rather than fine needles on specific points along the body to treat ailments such as tension and stress, aches and pains, menstrual cramps, arthritis.

Acupressure is a form of touch therapy that utilizes the principles of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Acupuncture, dates back to 282 A.D. Acupressure is the non-invasive form of acupuncture, as Chinese physicians determined that stimulating points on the body with massage and pressure could be effective for treating certain problems. Acupoints used in treatment may or may not be in the same area of the body as the targeted symptom. The TCM theory for the selection of such points and their effectiveness is that they work by stimulating the meridian system to bring about relief by rebalancing yin, yang and qi (also spelled “chi”). This theory is based on the paradigm of Traditional Chinese Medicine TCM.

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