Chinese medicine understands the health of our minds and bodies in terms of the body’s energy (qi) flowing smoothly and in a well-balanced way. Qi flows along energy channels or meridians, and the flow of qi can be adversely affected by illness, age, anxiety, trauma, emotions and nutrition among other things. By inserting very fine needles into carefully selected points along the meridians, the flow of qi can be affected to rebalance the body. Acupuncture can help to calm the mind and promote self-healing to enhance the well-being of the patient.
Acupuncture can be used to help treat a wide range of problems including arthritis, anxiety, back pain, coughs and colds, depression, digestive disorders, infertility, morning sickness, migraine, sciatica and many other aches and pains. The NHS currently suggests acupuncture can help in the treatment of chronic tension-type headaches, migraines and musculoskeletal conditions (of the bones and muscles) and pain conditions, including chronic pain, such as neck pain, joint pain, dental pain and postoperative pain.
There is also evidence that acupuncture can help alleviate symptoms of many other diseases in conjunction with Western medicine, and can help reduce reliance on some forms of medication.
What You Should Expect
The first treatment will be a longer session (90 minutes) to allow the acupuncturist to take a detailed case history. This includes all aspects of the patient’s physical, mental and emotional health.
The acupuncturist will talk to you and perform a diagnosis based on Chinese medicine to determine an appropriate treatment plan. The acupuncturist will ask you to lie down comfortably on the couch and to relax. Very fine needles will be inserted into selected acupuncture points to allow them to work. They will typically be left in place for about 20 minutes. The needles are so fine that many people do not even feel them going in – so if you get worried by having injections, acupuncture will be a lot less stressful! The treatment is meant to help relax you, after all!
Massage, moxibustion and cupping may also be suggested depending on the treatment.
Each treatment is unique to you and draws on the experience of the acupuncturist, the theories of Chinese medicine and an understanding of Western medicine.