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October 2021

Altern Ther Health Med. 1998 May; 4(3): 35-45.

An overview of medical acupuncture.

Helms JM.

Office of Continuing Medical Education, University of California-Los Angeles School of Medicine, USA.

This article defines the theoretical matrix and clinical value of the emerging complementary discipline of medical acupuncture, the acupuncture approach most commonly integrated by physicians into conventional medical practice. Medical acupuncture respects our contemporary understanding of neuromuscular anatomy and pain physiology while embracing the classical Chinese perception of a subtle circulation network of a vivifying force called qi. This hybrid acupuncture approach expresses the best of both worlds by describing a context in which to organize patient symptoms that usually escape attention in the standard medical evaluation. Musculoskeletal problems have been shown to be the most frequently and successfully treated disorders; however, medical acupuncture is adaptable to most clinical practices and can be used either as the primary or a complementary treatment. The physician acupuncturist can creatively intervene in a spectrum of medical disorders from early premorbid manifestations to chronic organic or musculoskeletal lesions by activating the appropriate subunit of qi circulation.

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