What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the use of fine needles at specific points on the body surface to restore and maintain health. It is part of a system of medicine that has been practised in China for several thousand years which includes herbal medicine, dietary therapy and manipulation. Acupuncture training is taken at post-graduate level leading to a Licentiate in acupuncture (Lic.Ac.) These courses involve training in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theories. Practitioners of Chinese Medicine believe that the body produces energy from food and air and that this energy circulates in pathways to reach all parts and keep the body healthy. The pathways are called meridians and may be considered as electrical in nature.
How does acupuncture work?
Qi (or chi) is this vital energy that flows through us. It flows through 14 major channels known as meridians that link every part of the body and all the organs. To restore and maintain a positive state of health, this energy must flow freely and evenly. If the flow of Qi is blocked or your body experiences stress (either physical or emotional) energy stagnates, resulting in illness. Threadlike needles are inserted into specific points to rebalance the energy and the stimulation of appropriate points frees this stagnation. In Western terms, modern science has shown that acupuncture stimulates the brain to produce natural relieving chemicals called endorphins. These assist the body to heal itself and give pain relief.
Types of conditions treated
It is often worth considering acupuncture for recent and chronic conditions. It provides safe and effective relief for a variety of illnesses ranging from arthritis, asthma and anxiety states, through headaches, migraine, menstrual disorders, to sinus problems, skin rashes, stomach problems and the vague states of exhaustion and poor health which often have no clear medical explanation. Other treatable conditions include:
• Sleep Disorders
• Fatigue/Myalgic Encephalopathy (M.E.)
• Sinus Problems and Chronic Catarrh
• Arthritis/Joint Problems
• Musculoskeletal Pain
• Digestive/Bowel Disorders
What should I expect if I come for treatment?
A detailed history is taken of the patient’s symptoms, past medical and family history, lifestyle and diet, the behaviour of all the systems in the body such as digestion and circulation, sleep patterns and emotional feelings. Diagnosis will include an examination of the tongue for its structure, colour and coating and of the pulses at the wrists, which are felt for their quality, rhythm and strength.
Having decided the cause or causes of the problem, the points and appropriate method of treatment are selected according to various rules governing the movement of Qi in the body. Needling and/or Moxa (heat herbal treatment) or laser may be used depending on your condition. The fine needles will be inserted for approximately 20 minutes and no discomfort should be felt during treatment other than a sensation of ‘Qi’ when the needles are inserted.
Is it safe?
Acupuncture is perfectly safe when practised with appropriate training. The needles used are all sterile and disposable. The fine needles are usually inserted a few millimetres and this gives rise to a sensation (Qi) which should only be a mild discomfort at the most.
Do I need a Doctors referral?
No. You can come directly to the Clinic if you think you might benefit from treatment and the practitioner will assess your condition. At all times, communication with your GP or other Medical practitioners will be maintained and any condition which may require further investigation will immediately be referred to your GP or relevant Consultant.
“When someone has an injury or ailment acupuncture can be used as an anti-inflammatory agent and for pain relief. If the injury or ailment is not recovering, further examination can reveal where the patient’s energy (or Qi) is stuck or deficient preventing healing. Sometimes nutrition advice or supplements are necessary to boost the patient’s energy and healing ability, and lifestyle changes may be encouraged. Acupuncture can also help the vague states of exhaustion and poor health which often have no clear medical explanation.”