WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE?
Acupuncture has began to feature more prominently in mainstream healthcare in the UK, with the house of lords recommendations of its use in the NHS and the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) endorsement, as well as The World Health Organisation (WHO) who have published a long list of conditions treated by acupuncture, it is becoming a valuble adjunct to western medicine.
Acupuncture has been practiced in China and other eastern countries for thousands of years. It is a system of medicine used to help people with a wide range of problems, focusing on treating the person rather then the disease.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, all good health is dependent on the smooth flow of a vital energy known as ‘Qi’ which is distributed through energy pathways known as meridians throughout the body. When these meridians become blocked or unbalanced illness occurs. By inserting fine needles into specific points on these pathways of vital energy, acupuncturists can stimulate the body’s own healing response and help to restore natural balance.
Acupuncture is now accepted all over the world as a valid system of healthcare.
Acupuncture works to help maintain your body’s equilibrium. It involves the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body to regulate the flow of ‘qi’, your body’s vital energy. For a number of lifestyle and environmental reasons, qi can become disturbed, depleted or blocked, which can result in some symptoms of pain and illness. Traditional acupuncture is an effective therapy to help restore balance and promote physical and emotional harmony.
The translation between the patterns of Chinese medicine and western named conditions is a fascinating one. For nearly every named condition you bring to your practitioner, like nausea, or osteoarthritis of the knee, there is a complex weave of different syndromes and patterns within which it is understood. The symptoms are important, a bridge between what you experience and how the practitioner, be they eastern or western, makes sense of what you bring to them. Every symptom has meaning within the eastern tradition.
Moxibustion is a technique used by acupuncturists which involves the burning of mugwort, a herb which gets very hot when heated. Moxa can be placed directly onto acupuncture needles, onto the skin or indirectly over the skin held in cigar shaped rolls. Moxa has many benefits including the relief of pain by moving stagnation, removing cold from the joints and regulating the inflammatory response.
Cupping involves the use of bamboo or glass cups which are placed over the skin by creating a suction. This ancient technique dates back to 168 B.C. The suction is created by removing the oxygen from the glass or bamboo using a flame or a pump.
This has the effect of promoting blood circulation and clearing tightness from the muscles. Cupping is very useful for painful conditions such as arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
Electro-acupuncture (EA) is a therapeutic method using pulsed electric current to stimulate acupuncture points, this is normally conducted through acupuncture needles. EA enhances the action of a treatment when the intention is pain relief.