Acupuncture is an effective medical treatment used since before the time of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Some medical practitioners today consider it no better than a good massage. However, others have “modernized” acupuncture to be used with lasers.
But, traditional Chinese acupuncture is far more potent and complex than a simple massage or laser technique.
The practice of acupuncture gained the interest of Muslim physician Rashid al-Din Fadlallah (1247-1318). Some other Muslim physicians have also adopted the practice (University of Calgary, p.2); including Muslim physicians in Spain (Haeri, p.226).
By contrast, acupuncture has only been practiced in England, France and Germany over the past few hundred years, and only for the past two decades in the U.S. (Hirsh, p.1).
A study published in the British Medical Journal of June 2001, compared three treatments among 177 patients between 18-85 years old. They suffer from chronic neck pain. Dr. Dominick Irnich of Ludwig Maximillian University in Munich had the patients randomly allocated to receive five treatments of acupuncture, massage or laser acupuncture over a three-week period.
Those on laser therapy felt better than the massage group. But, not as good as the real acupuncture group. The laser acupuncture was unable to intensely stimulate any of the acupuncture points on the body.
Although the art of Chinese acupuncture is thousands of years old, it still remains a mystery to Western physicians who measure it against a modern science that is still evolving.
Dr. Irnich told United Press International that, “Massage and acupuncture both have local effects but acupuncture seems to also have general effects on health promotion.
Results of basic research indicate that needle acupuncture has complex multi-system effects.” This includes the endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that stimulate the nervous system and help people cope with pain (Health World, p.1).
Part of the reason acupuncture is often misunderstood by Western medicine is that it involves the mechanisms of the human energy field. The concepts of Chi are largely unfamiliar to Western medicine. The needles inserted beneath the skin during acupuncture stimulate this “Chi”.
Rooted in Taoism, acupuncture works on the concept of the non-conceptual awareness of reality. The rules of Tao state that when the rational mind is silenced, the intuitive mode produces an extraordinary awareness and the environment is experienced in a direct way without the prejudice of a mind that determines what we actually see (Capra, p.47).
Acupuncture, however, does not require that a person be Taoist and does not impose Taoism on its patients. Modern acupuncture, although it has its roots in Taoism, has evolved over time from all people. This including Muslims, who observed, worked and learned from nature (Drury, p.1).
Muslim physicians noted that, “A continuous flow of “Chi” along a system of meridians (pathways in the body) balances the body. However, whenever the flow is blocked the body falls ill. An imbalance within the inner body creates an imbalance of the outer body, and a separation from the Tawhid of Allah’s (swt) creation” (Capra, p.120).
There are 12 main meridians in the body, which contain approximately 1000 acupuncture points (Drury, p.12).
Meridians have a high concentration of neurological tissue, especially around the throat, heart, wrist, navel, ear lobes, index fingers, medulla oblongata, base of spine; directly behind the knees; midway between the brow; under the tongue; and around the sensitive area close to the nostrils (Gurudas, p.12).
In a morphological (biological study of structure and forms of living organisms) examination of acupuncture points, a detected arterial vessel (0.6-0.7mm diameter) was found to be the leading structure of a nerve vessel bundle situated in an 80? – 90? angle towards the skin.
There was no other similar anatomical structure in the vicinity. The Orthopedic Department of Herz Jesu Hospital and the Ludwig Boltzm Ann Institute carried out this study of acupuncture in Vienna, Austria (Iad.org, p.1).
In Britain, heroin addicts are successfully being treated with acupuncture. The treatment is part of “Turning Points,” 60 projects carried out across the country with support from charities.
Janine Schofield, who worked in one of the projects in Sheffield, said, “This (acupuncture) works not just to help people come off drugs. But, also in preventing them from relapsing. The cost is tiny in comparison with drug rehabilitation.”
Participant Alan Smith said the procedure helped him greatly with the sleeplessness and anxiety he suffered due to drug withdrawal. A heroin user for 20 years, he continued to say, “I can’t count the number of times I’ve come off heroin before and started again. It would be very easy to go out and score but in the last nine months I’ve not used heroin once” (Summerskill, p.1).
Since the Han Dynasty (206BC -24AD), the Chinese have used a combination of acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, and diet to treat male and female infertility. The treatments help regulate the menstrual cycle and invigorate sperm, enhancing the mind-body balance (Hirsch, p.1, 3).
While modern science tries to validate systems rooted in the laws of nature, Shaykh Fadhlalla argues, “Man is brought about in order to recognize his inner freedom and the way and the path towards that is service” (Haeri p.221).
Fadhlalla continued saying: “We want to learn as many techniques as we can and to eventually see their unification, in order to serve as best we can. We know because of our tawhid that if the approach is to unify man, to unify his inwardness with his outwardness, and himself with his Creator, then you will know all the areas of overlap – so we are basically multi-disciplinarians. We believe in using whatever is usable because it all comes from the same source” (Haeri p.221).
- Capra, Fritjof. “The Tao of Physics.” Britain: Flamingo. 1989.
- Drury, Nevill. “The Healing Power.” Britain: Frederick Muller Ltd. 1981.
- Gurudas. “Gem Elixirs & Vibration Healing. Vol.II.” US: Cassandra Press. 1986.
- Haeri, Fadhlalla. “Nuradeen.” Britain: Zahra Publications. 1983.
- Health World. “Acupuncture Better Than Massage.” United Press International.
- Hirsch, Roger, C. “Chinese Medicine and Assisted Reproductive Technology for the Modern Couple.” Acupuncture.com. 08/15/01.
- Iad.org. “The Medical Sciences.” Iad.org. 08/16/01.
- Summerskill, Ben. “Addicts Turn To Acupuncture for Heroin Cure.” The Observer. 08/28/00.
- University of Calgary. “The Islamic World to 1600: The Arts, Learning and Knowledge.” 08/16/01.