What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles through the skin at specific anatomical points on the body. It is one aspect of the larger field of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which further includes herbal medicine, dietary therapy, qigong and tuina (Chinese massage). Acupuncture is a technique that seeks to balance the life energy or qi within an individual. A balanced flow of qi equates to a healthy mind and body.
How does acupuncture work?
According to Traditional Chinese Medical theory, acupuncture works by stimulating specific points on the body which regulate the flow of qi. The acupuncture points chosen are based on the signs and symptoms of the patient.
With regard to pain treatment, the western perspective has determined that the needles stimulate the secretion of endorphins (natural pain killers) and affect arterial blood flow. In addition, the needles are believed to generate a competing stimulus that stops pain signals from reaching the brain. It is theorized that the effect of acupuncture in the treatment of psycho-emotional disorders is a result of acupuncture’s effect on neurotransmitter levels in the brain.
What does it treat?
According to the World Health Organization, controlled clinical trials have proven that acupuncture is an effective treatment for the following conditions:
Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever) Biliary colic Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke) Dysentery, acute bacillary Dysmenorrhoea, primary Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm) Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders) Headache Hypertension, essential Hypotension, primary Induction of labor Knee pain Leukopenia Low back pain Malposition of fetus, correction of Morning sickness Nausea and vomiting Neck pain Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction) Periarthritis of shoulder Postoperative pain Renal colic Rheumatoid arthritis Sciatica Sprain Stroke Tennis elbow
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How long is a session?
Most treatments last around an hour with the needles being retained for around 20 minutes. The initial treatment can be up to an hour and a half given the extensive case history taken.
How many sessions will I need?
The number of sessions needed relates to the nature of the problem, its severity, and its longevity. After a few sessions the necessary duration of treatment is usually known.
What should I expect?
For most people acupuncture is a very relaxing experience. With needle insertion most people experience a warm, tingling or radiating sensation.
What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?
Dating back over 5000 years, Chinese Herbal Medicine is one of the most important aspects of TCM. This system takes a holistic approach to understanding health and disease processes, and aims to treat seemingly unrelated symptoms before a disease manifests. Within this system, herbal formulas are prescribed and tailored to an individual’s pattern diagnosis as well as disease diagnosis.