WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE
The Art of Qi
Acupuncture is a system of healing which has been practised in China and other Eastern countries for thousands of years.
Although often described as a means of pain relief, it is in fact used to treat people with a wide range of illnesses. Its focus is on improving the overall well-being of the patient, rather than the isolated treatment of specific symptoms.
According to traditional Chinese philosophy, our health is dependent on the body's motivating energy - known as Qi - moving in a smooth and balanced way through a series of meridians (channels) beneath the skin.
Qi consists of equal and opposite qualities - Yin and Yang - and when these become unbalanced, illness may result. By inserting fine needles into the channels of energy, an acupuncturist can stimulate the body's own healing response and help restore its natural balance. The flow of Qi can be disturbed by a number of factors. These include emotional states such as anxiety, stress, anger, fear or grief, poor nutrition, weather conditions, hereditary factors, infections, poisons and trauma. The principal aim of acupuncture in treating the whole person is to recover the equilibrium between the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of the individual.
The World Health Organization recognises acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine as an effective treatment modality for some conditions.
Listed below are the most common clinical disorders encountered in practice:
- Gastrointestinal Disorders, such as food allergies, peptic ulcer, constipation, chronic diarrhea, indigestion, etc.
- Urogenital Disorders, including stress incontinence, urinary tract infections.
- Gynecological Disorders, such as menstruation issues, endometriosis, infertility, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), etc.
- Respiratory Disorders, such as common cold, emphysema, sinusitis, asthma, allergies and bronchitis.
- Disorders of the Bones, Muscles, Joints and Nervous System: arthritis, carpal tunnel, neuralgia, migraines, etc.
- Circulatory disorders, such as hypertension, angina pectoris, arteriosclerosis and anemia.
- Emotional and Psychological Disorders, including depression, stress and anxiety.
Many people have acupuncture as a preventative treatment or because they feel unwell in themselves but are not ill in the Western sense
What happens during treatment?
At your first session a diagnosis is carried out through a detailed consultation covering every aspect of your health, body and mind. Your tongue and pulse will be observed, as these are very important signs in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Today's acupuncture needles are extremely fine so treatment is usually almost painless. You may feel a dull ache or a tingling sensation as the needle comes in contact with the Qi. The needles are normally left in for about 20 minutes before taken out (it is not unusual for patients to fall asleep during this time). The needles come in sterile blister packs and are thrown away after a single use - this eliminates the spread of infection.
Sometimes moxibustion is required - the warming of acupuncture points through the use of smoldering herbs.
The needles may also be stimulated using a small electrical current.
Treatment periods vary from a single session to several months - this will be discussed after the diagnosis.
At first you will need to be seen once, or possibly twice a week, and as treatment starts to take effect sessions can be spaced out more