Acupuncture is a system of healing which has been practised in China and other Eastern countries for thousands of years. Although often described as a means of pain relief it is, in fact, used to treat people with a wide range of illnesses.
Its focus is on improving the overall well being of the patient, rather than the isolated treatment of specific symptoms.
According to traditional Chinese philosophy, our health is dependent on the body's motivating energy known as Qi moving in a smooth and balanced way through a series of channels beneath the skin. Qi consists of equal and opposite qualities Yin and Yang and when these become unbalanced, illness may result.
By inserting fine needles into the channels of energy, an acupuncturist can stimulate the body's own healing response and help restore its natural balance.
The flow of Qi can be disturbed by a number of factors. These include emotional states such as anxiety, stress, anger, fear or grief, poor nutrition, weather conditions, hereditary factors, infections, poisons and trauma.
The principal aim of Acupuncture in treating the whole person is to recover the equilibrium between the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of the individual.
What does it feel like?
Most people's experience of needles is of those used in injections and blood tests. Acupuncture needles bear little resemblance to these. They are much finer and are solid rather than hollow. When the needle is inserted, the sensation is often described as a tingling or dull ache.
Needles are inserted either for a second or two, or left in place for up to 20 minutes, depending on the effect required.
During treatment, patients commonly experience a heaviness in the limbs or a pleasant feeling of relaxation. The benefits of acupuncture frequently include more than just relief from a particular condition. Many people find that it can also lead to increased energy levels, better appetite and sleep, as well as an enhanced sense of overall well being.
Who has acupuncture?
Many people come to acupuncture for help with specific symptoms or conditions. These might include anxiety states, arthritis, asthma, back pain, circulatory problems, depression, facial paralysis, fibrositis, high blood pressure, indeterminate aches and pains, infertility, menstrual problems, migraines, rheumatism, sciatica, skin conditions or ulcers.
Acupuncture is a safe treatment for all. It has proved to be effective in pregnancy management and for the relief of pain in childbirth.
Acupuncture is also helpful for people trying to overcome addictions such as those related to smoking, alcohol, food or drugs. Some people may have acupuncture as a preventative measure to strengthen their constitution, or because they feel unwell in themselves without being ill in the Western sense.
It can also be used alongside conventional medicine in the treatment of both acute and chronic disease. As with any therapy, the response to acupuncture can vary from one person to another.