Acupuncture was imported from the East as a treatment of Chinese medicine that has been used in healing for thousands of years. And now it's becoming as Western as, well, the West.
It's taken a long time for our culture to get past the foreign flavor of Chinese medicine, particularly this astounding practice of sticking needles into the skin.
It took a certain kind of bravery or recklessness for the first guinea pigs in North America to lay down for the needles. But I suspect that for many of these pioneers, revelation came quickly, and willingness for a repeat performance followed on the heels of that revelation.
Or so it was for me, at any rate. If you've ever had to live with extraordinary pain for long periods of time, and then seen acupuncture make it disappear, you'll understand the extreme about-face.
I've been receiving acupuncture treatments for three years and it's made a difference in health problems that nothing else had even touched. You have nothing to lose but your pain and the limitations to your health.
This experience of mine is being repeated exponentially every day here in North America. And so unfolds the westernization of acupuncture.
We may not understand the Eastern philosophy and explanations as to what this therapy does and how it does it. We don't have real equivalents in translation for concepts like "qi" or "yin" and "yang".
But we're very busily figuring out from a western perspective, just what is going on here and how to make the best use of it. Lately we've made some headway in the ways we're familiar and comfortable with.
For example, take electroacupuncture. Electroacupuncture is actually an Eastern development but it fits like a hand in a glove with the western tendency to turn up the juice. We're intrigued by the discovery that we can plug this thing in and amp it up.
Substitute acupuncture needles with electrodes and you have the equivalent of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy.
To perform electroacupuncture, acupuncture needles are inserted on specific spots along the meridians of the body.