About Chinese Medicine
Traditional acupuncture is an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine that involves the insertion and manipulation of fine needles into specific points on the body. Whilst mainly known for its pain modulating properties acupuncture is widely used to treat a wide range of conditions.
How does acupuncture work?
According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (气), which can be loosely translated as energy, is said to flow smoothly through pathways or channels in body, supplying our vital organs and other tissues of the body. When there is a smooth flow of qi within the channels, there is equilibrium in the body; when there is disruption in the flow of qi, the normal functioning of the body may become impaired and symptoms of illness are said to arise. The smooth flow of Qi may be influenced by a number of factors including diet, emotional stress, physical trauma, as well as one’s own constitution. Acupuncture helps to promote, restore, and maintain the natural flow of qi. As a result, self healing mechanisms of the body are stimulated and balance within the body is restored.
With the advances of modern medicine however, we now know more about how acupuncture may work from a biomedical standpoint. Research shows us that acupuncture stimulates nerves, muscles and other tissues of the body. This is thought to influence the body's own internal regulating system.
What should I expect from a typical acupuncture session?
During your first consultation your practitioner will typically carry out a full assessment of your current symptoms, medical history and general health. In addition to asking questions about why your current health concerns, it is common to be asked questions about your emotions, lifestyle, eating and sleeping habits. A traditional acupuncturist will also ask to look at your tongue and read your pulses on both wrists.
During treatment needles are gently inserted into a number of acupuncture points on the body. The number and location of points used will depend on the nature of your complaint, as well as the style of acupuncture your practitioner uses.
Once the needles are in place, most people feel a dull ache, numbness, or tingling sensation. This needling sensation is known as ‘de Qi’ and is a desired effect. Needles are typically retained for 20 to 30 minutes before they are gently removed.
Unlike standard hypodermic needles, acupuncture needles are ultra fine and flexible to ensure minimal discomfort. Once the needles are in place, many people find acupuncture quite relaxing.
Is acupuncture safe?
When performed by a qualified practitioner, acupuncture is extremely safe. Needles used are pre-sterilised and single use. Side effects from treatment are extremely rare.
On occasion, mild dizziness or drowsiness may occur following treatment. This is thought to be the body's natural response to treatment and its effects is only short lived.
Can acupuncture interfere with my medication?
Generally speaking acupuncture should not interfere with your medication. It is important, however, to inform your practitioner of any medication you are taking as this is important information he or she will need to know.
Is acupuncture suitable for children or the elderly?
Acupuncture is considered a suitable form of treatment for all ages including babies, children, as well as the elderly.
I am pregnant. Can I still have acupuncture?
Yes. Acupuncture is widely used during pregnancy and has a long safety track record. Acupuncture is commonly used to help alleviate many common conditions that develop during the early stages of pregnancy. It is important to inform your practitioner if you suspect you may be pregnant as this is important information he or she will need to know.