Acupuncture originated in China over 2000 years ago and is a healing system that has been used and developed since then in many parts of the world. It is currently used in hospitals throughout China and is practised alongside Western medicine, both contributing equally to the provision of health care. The effectiveness of acupuncture has been recognised by the World
Health Organisation for its success in the treatment of over 40 different diseases.
How does Acupuncture work?
Fundamental to Chinese Medicine is the concept of Qi, (Chi), something that has no Western equivalent but can be defined as vital energy or life force. The quality and amount of Qi determines ones health and vitality. It provides the source of movement in the body, keeps the blood circulating, fights disease and warms the body. Qi is distributed around the body through a network
of interconnecting channels which go deep to the organs and pass through different levels to just below the skin where it can be contacted with acupuncture needles.
In the body Qi is dispersed through twelve main interconnecting pathways. Illness occurs primarily when there is an excess, deficiency or stagnation of Qi either within a specific organ or channel. For example, a strained back may be due to blocked Qi in the Bladder channel which runs down either side of the spine. Similarly if the balance of Qi in the Stomach organ is disturbed either of the following may occur: vomiting will result if there is an excess of Qi, while deficiency of Qi over a long time may predispose to a stomach ulcer.
The aim of acupuncture is to correct imbalances of Qi through the insertion of needles into specific points along the channels and so assist the body’s own recuperative
What can Acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture is effective in treating most ailments presented at a GP’s surgery. It is especially valuable in chronic diseases that orthodox medicine can only alleviate with drugs. For example, asthma, hay fever, sinusitis; hypertension; depression; painful conditions anywhere in the body such as headache, migraine, arthritis, back pain; stiffness of joints or muscles.
Many acute complaints can be treated including strains and sprains, shingles, cystitis, menstrual disorders, diarrhea and vomiting, cough, colds and sore throats.
Acupuncture also recognises and treats many disharmonies that have no medical diagnosis, a non specific ‘not quite right’ feeling characterized by any of the following: tiredness, lethargy, vague aches and pains, digestive problems, difficulty in sleeping, anxiety, tension, palpitations or dizziness.
People with addictions to smoking, drugs or alcohol may be helped by acupuncture to reduce their dependencies.
In addition to the above many other disorders have been treated with success and it is always worth enquiring about any particular problem you might have. Please go to our Services page for more information.
What happens during an Acupuncture treatment?
In order to make a diagnosis and plan treatments your practitioner will need to take a detailed case history, asking about present and past health problems, lifestyle, and general health. You may discuss anything that you feel has an effect on your health. In Chinese Medicine it is helpful to have as much information as possible to give a picture of the disharmony.
Careful examination of the pulse and tongue are also made. The rhythm and quality of the pulse is felt at the wrist which indicates the balance of energy and state of disease. The tongue, through its shape, colour, movement and coating indicates progression and degree of illness.
According to the diagnosis very fine needles are inserted into the acupuncture points. The initial sensation is often described as ‘tingling’, ‘slightly heavy’, ‘dull’, or ‘numb’. The needles are usually left in place for about twenty minutes, and the whole treatment last about an hour. (Stainless steel disposable needles are used).
After the treatment a feeling of relaxation or well-being is often noticed. It is not advisable to rush around doing anything too strenuous. After treatment sometimes tiredness may be felt for a couple of days afterwards while the energy adjusts. There may be an immediate improvement in the condition or sometimes an aggravation occurs before symptoms are alleviated. Usually a gradual improvement is noticed over a series of treatments.
How many treatments are needed?
Since acupuncture treats people not diseases the number of treatments necessary depends on a whole host of factors relating to the specific individual. For example, the duration of the illness, general state of energy, constitution, life style, are all taken into consideration. Generally speaking the more acute the disease the sooner it will respond, although there are instances where acupuncture has brought quick relief to many chronic problems.
The initial treatments will usually be once a week and their frequency will be decreased as the person progresses, to once a fortnight, once a month etc, until there is only a need for an occasional preventative check-up.
As the cause of ill health can stem from our ways of living often some change in lifestyle may be needed to help the treatment to be effective. Your practitioner will help in giving an understanding of what may be contributing to illness in your particular circumstances.
The areas which influence health include: constitution, diet, exercise, type of work, relaxation, sleep, emotional states, weather conditions, drugs. etc.
There may be one or more of these aspects that needs special attention to prevent a recurrence of the particular disharmony.