What is Acupuncture?
Very fine needles are inserted into specific points just below the skin, they are located on meridians or energy channels first detected by the ancient Chinese over thousands of years ago.
The concept of “Qi” energy lies at the heart of acupuncture, understanding that this subtle vital life force courses through the body just as streams and rivers ebb and flow across the surface of the earth. The acupuncture points are located in precise places on the skin called “men” or “gates” where the channels are most accessible to being influenced.
Acupuncture points relate to particular body and organ functions. The points may stimulated or “tonified” to correct imbalances or stuck (stagnant) “Qi” may be moved or “dispersed”. In either case healing can be brought about and pain relieved.
There are six distinct pulses that can be felt at each wrist relating to the quality and health of the Qi as it flows through the twelve primary meridian systems and the organs they relate to. Feeling these pulses is important in diagnosis. The colour and form of the face, tongue, and body are carefully observed. The patient’s personal history – present and past complaints, physical environment, family health history, and emotional life all help the practitioner to decide how to treat the patient.
The goal of treatment is to harmonize all of the systems of the body and mind. Weak organs are tonified, congested channels are unblocked and the body is restored to balance.
In conjunction with acupuncture treatment may also include the use of the following: moxabustion (the gentle warming of acupuncture points with a smouldering herb), cupping, massage, dietary advice, and exercise. The duration of treatment depends on the nature of the complaint, its severity, and how long it has been present.
What happens in an acupuncture session?
The practitioner uses tiny sterile stainless steel acupuncture needles, which are inserted into the points of the body corresponding to the systems of the body that need harmonizing. Acupuncture invigorates the proper function of muscles, nerves, organs.
As I am qualified in moxabustion, cupping and massage amongst other strategies, they may also be employed to facilitate healing where appropriate.
How It Feels
Insertion of the needles goes unnoticed by some, and to others feels like a small pinch followed by a sensation of tingling, numbness, ache, travelling warmth, or heaviness. Points may be briefly stimulated or needles may remain in place for twenty to thirty minutes. Most people experience a sense of relaxation and balance as a result of the session, and a relief from symptoms or increase in energy following the sessions which will last for some days and improve as the course of treatment continues.
Is it painful?
Not usually – usually the patient does not even feel the needles going in. The main sensation is a brief numbness, perhaps some tingling, followed by a sense of relaxation and well-being.
What Acupuncture Can Treat?