What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture (針灸) is a 2,000 year old branch of Chinese Medicine used widely across the world to encourage optimal health and vitality.
Using a logical framework for understanding the functions of the human body, it suggests that symptoms of disease are the manifestation of an imbalance within different physiological and energetic systems.
Comprehensive traditional diagnostic tools (including questioning, physical examination and pulse & tongue diagnosis) allow a full picture of your health to be established within the context of Chinese Medicine. Treatment can therefore tackle your main complaint along with any accompanying problems and also boost your overall strength, energy and immune system.
An integration of acupuncture, additional therapies (e.g. gua sha massage, cupping, moxibustion) and movement (qigong) are used together to help restore balance in the body on physical, mental and emotional levels. This aids promotion of optimum health and wellbeing and can be safely used alongside conventional medical treatment and during pregnancy.
Acupuncture is recognised by the World Health Organisation as a beneficial treatment for many different conditions. Every increasing scientific and medical research is confirming the beneficial results of this clinically effective medical system.
How does it work?
Whether or not we notice it consciously, things are in constant motion around our body – blood, lymph, interstitial fluids, electrical nerve impulses, muscles, fascia and our organs – all in a bid to maintain homeostasis (balance) and to support the physiological needs and functions required for our work, exercise and rest.
Sometimes, things go wrong and don’t work as well as they could. Certain organ, muscle or physiological systems can become taxed and overworked because others are struggling to keep pace or can’t function well due to injury or illness.
In Chinese Medicine, all organ systems and physiological functions in the body are to be constantly interacting with each other in an interdependent, regulated cycle. If things are out of kilter for any reason, they can start flowing in the wrong direction which upsets the balance of everything within the cycle causing excesses in some areas and deficiencies in others. These imbalances are viewed holistically, in combination with each other to find the root cause of the misdirection. The acupuncture needles are then used in specific areas to remind the body of it’s natural flow and function and to clear blocks and strengthen weaknesses in order to return to optimum health.
What does treatment involve?
Initial consultation involves a full diagnosis (including details of your main complaint, general health and lifestyle) and your first treatment; follow-up appointments include a short review of your progress and any necessary treatments. The number and frequency of treatments required varies depending on the duration and severity of your illness or injury; this will be discussed during your consultation.
During treatment ‘hair-fine’, single-use, pre-sterilised, disposable needles are inserted into your skin. Gentle manipulation at specific points stimulates your body’s natural healing response and helps return it to a more balanced state. Following needle insertion you may feel a brief dull ache or tingling; this can sometimes be a strong sensation but normally disappears quickly. Many people who don’t like needles have often reported to me that they are surprised that they feel almost nothing upon insertion and feel comfortable and relaxed.