Illness is understood to arise when this natural flow becomes excessive, deficient or blocked.
When you hear the word ‘Qi’ or ‘energy’ in Chinese medicine, think of energy in the broadest possible sense. It is the energy that drives all our physiological processes such as our metabolic energy, our digestive energy, our physical energy, and also our mental energy and our emotional energy. All these aspects are covered by the term ‘Qi’.
So, if illness is the result of an imbalance in the body’s energy, it is the acupuncturist’s job to find out where and how that imbalance has occurred and to correct it. And acupuncture treatment is an excellent method for enabling that re-balancing.
As acupuncture can alter the way Qi flows through the body, almost anyone can benefit from treatment.
Acupuncture has not been without controversy since its introduction to the West. This is largely because it is difficult to prove exactly how it works. It seems very difficult for us in the West to accept anything unless we are able to see it and examine it under a microscope. If we can’t see it, it simply doesn’t exist. If we can’t prove how it works, then it obviously doesn’t work!
Fortunately, we have got to the stage now where, although we’re still not sure exactly how it works, there have been enough good studies done and an overwhelmingly large number of people to testify to the fact that, over and above all else, the point is……acupuncture works.
This is why it has become such an incredibly popular choice of treatment for so many people and for so many different conditions.
What happens during treatment?
You will be asked about your current symptoms, treatment you have already received and details of your medical history, your diet, digestion, sleeping patterns and emotional state.
The quality, rhythm and strength of your pulses will be checked, and the colour, structure and coating of your tongue will be noted. This information will allow me to make a diagnosis and decide upon treatment.
As part of the treatment plan, lifestyle and dietary advice may also be given.
During treatment, needles are inserted either for a second or two, or left in place for 20 to 30 minutes depending on the desired effect. As the needle is inserted, the sensation is often described as a tingling or dull ache, and many people experience a pleasant feeling of relaxation.
The needles used are extremely fine (0.2mm). They are sterile, single use and made of high quality stainless steel.
Another method of stimulating the acupuncture points may involve using electro-acupuncture. This is when a Tens machine is used to send a small vibration through the inserted needle. This style of treatment is very effective for pain management and inducing childbirth.
Cupping is another style of treatment sometimes used for injury, pain or viral infections. This involves putting suction cups over acupuncture points in order to move the fluids under the skin either towards or away from an area. It is therefore particularly useful in treating stiffness and pain, as well as nourishing areas that may be weakened.