Sumathy B is a Bangalore-based homemaker in her late fifties who was diagnosed with stage 4 osteoarthritis over a year ago. She had an excruciating pain in her knees and was barely able to walk anymore. Every orthopaedic she consulted gave the same advice—get a knee replacement surgery done. But, unwilling to go under the knife, Sumathy looked for alternative treatment options and zeroed in on acupuncture. Today, after over a year of regular acupuncture sessions, her knee joint has improved by over 50 percent. She can walk now, and according to her acupuncturist Dr Hifzullah N S, a recent X-ray indicates that her osteoarthritis has improved to stage 2.
Given the increasing awareness about the adverse side-effects of allopathy, many are increasingly opting to cure their illnesses through alternative medicine which stimulates the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Of the alternative medicinal systems that respect the body’s inherent wisdom, one is acupuncture. With its origins in China, acupuncture is a procedure wherein needles are inserted at specific points of the body to enhance healing. Its procedure is recorded in The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, dating about 100 BCE. The book contains detailed knowledge about the philosophy of qi that governs acupuncture. It also explains the channels called meridians through which qi (otherwise called life energy) flows.
According to Bangalore-based acupuncturist Ushaa Rani, when qi is well-balanced, it flows smoothly throughout the body, and we experience good health. When qi is deficient due to, perhaps, stagnation or blockage in the meridian, diseases manifest. And so, by piercing needles at specific points along the meridians, acupuncture manipulates the flow of qi. However, qi and the meridians are not visible in the human anatomy. They neither follow the pathway of the nerves nor of the blood vessels.