What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a therapeutic practice that originated in China thousands of years ago. In western medicine, the goal is often to diagnose disease and treat it specifically; in acupuncture, the goal is to strengthen the entire mind and body, supporting our inherent resilience and resistance to disease.
According to traditional Chinese philosophy, our health is dependent on the body’s motivating energy (Qi, pronounced ‘chee’) moving in a smooth and balanced way through a series of channels (meridians) beneath the skin that connect the interior and exterior of the body, and the internal systems to each other.
Qi consists of equal and opposite qualities – Yin and Yang. When Qi becomes blocked or disrupted, illness can result. Acupuncture aims to bring all systems into balance by inserting fine needles into the meridians. It can also be used to complement conventional medicine.
What happens during an acupuncture session?
If it is your first session, the acupuncturist will assess your general health to ensure that you receive the most effective treatment. They may enquire about your current symptoms, treatment you have received so far, medical history, your close family’s medical history, diet, digestive system, sleeping patterns and emotional state.
The acupuncturist may then check your pulses on both wrists and look at the structure, colour and coating of your tongue.
All these inquiries are made to identify which energy channels need adjusting for your specific complaint to improve, and which require treatment to boost your overall energy and vitality.
The acupuncturist will then insert the needles – these are very fine and you should experience only a tingling or dull ache. The needles can be left in place for only a second or for up to 20 minutes, depending on the effect required.
During treatment, many patients feel heaviness in their limbs or a pleasant feeling of relaxation. Your acupuncturist may also use moxa, a smouldering herb that is used to warm acupuncture points to encourage the body’s energy to flow smoothly.
How many treatments will be necessary?
The number of treatments required will depend on the individual – some people will experience great improvements very quickly and others may need treatment over several months. However, you will probably be advised to attend sessions once or twice a week at first.
Benefits of Acupuncture:
- Anxiety and depression.
- Fertility and pregnancy issues.
- Arthritis and rheumatism.
- High blood pressure.
- Menstrual cramps.
- Skin problems.
- Pain relief in childbirth.