Acupuncture as part of Chinese Medicine is an alternative health-care system that can offer real relief for a variety of medical conditions. Chinese Medicine attempts to treats disease by re-establishing healthy physiology, creating the right conditions for the flow of healthy life. Diagnosis in Chinese Medicine looks at all aspects of health and wellbeing and sees pain and illness as signs that the body is out of balance. The overall aim of acupuncture treatment, then, is to restore the body’s equilibrium.
Traditional acupuncturists are trained to use subtle diagnostic techniques that have been developed and refined for centuries. The focus is on the individual, not their illness, and all the symptoms are seen in relation to each other. Each patient is unique; two people with the same western diagnosis may well receive different acupuncture treatments.
The underlying principle of treatment is that illness and pain occur when the body’s qi, or energy, cannot flow freely. We get stuck! There can be many reasons for this; emotional and physical stress, poor nutrition, infection or injury are among the most common. By inserting ultra-fine sterile needles into specific acupuncture points, a traditional acupuncturist seeks to re-establish the free flow of qi to restore balance and some say acupuncture can trigger the body’s natural healing response.
What happens during treatment?
The initial assessment carried out by the practitioner focuses on the patient’s medical history and understanding the current issues and assessing the body’s imbalance. The practitioner will look at the tongue and feel the pulse at the wrist on both hands. This will lead the practitioner to a Chinese Medicine Diagnosis and a treatment plan can be discusses.
Treatment with acupuncture involves needles that are very thin and most patients feel very little as the needles are inserted; some feel no pain at all. The acupuncture needles are usually left in place for between 15 and 30 minutes and often the acupuncturist will try and manipulate the needles so that you will feel a dull or numb sensation around their site of insertion. This sensation is called “de qi”. Other methods of stimulating the acupuncture point, include moxibustion (application of heat), and placing a cup over the acupuncture point (cupping).