Acupuncture is part of what is considered the traditional approach to healthcare in China, along with herbal medicine, bodywork and qigong exercises. The attitude to health in China is more preventative in nature and is the most powerful and effective alternative or complement to current western methods of healthcare. Qualified acupuncturists are highly trained in both the practices of Chinese medicine and Western anatomy and physiology. In the West there is also a certification called Medical Acupuncture which is available to healthcare professionals as a 2-4 day professional development course. These people tend to say they "do acupuncture". What they mean by this is that they have been taught a small number of acupuncture points, some motor points for muscles and therefore can use acupuncture needles to benefit a small number of health complaints. Professional acupuncturists on the other hand have typically at least 3 years of training in traditional medicine via one route of another, and can therefore formulate a Chinese medical diagnosis and treat a far greater range of health conditions - not only the symptoms, but often the underlying root cause. They understand how to choose and combine all the different acupuncture points, correctly. I am a professional registered acupuncturist.
Traditional acupuncture regards illness as a sign that the body is out of balance. The exact pattern and degree of imbalance is unique to each individual. My skill lies in identifying the precise nature of the underlying disharmony and selecting the most effective treatment. The choice of acupuncture points will be specific to each patient's needs. Traditional acupuncture is also used as a preventive measure to strengthen the constitution and promote general well-being.
What Conditions may Acupuncture Treat?
An increasing weight of evidence from Western scientific research is demonstrating the effectiveness of acupuncture for treating a wide variety of conditions. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has produced a list of disease categories for which Traditional Chinese Acupuncture may benefit, for example: sinusitis, migraine, nausea, indigestion, constipation, IBS, high blood pressure, neck-shoulder / back / knee pain, arthritis (both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis), muscle strains and sprains and other soft tissue injuries, PMS, irregular or painful periods, menopausal syndrome, fluid retention, skin disorders, insomnia, infertility, stroke recovery, and more. In addition acupuncture is used for addictions to smoking or alcohol, and can be used for facial rejuvenation.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Our bio-energy or Qi, moves throughout the body flowing through clearly defined channels known as meridians, promoting health and resisting disease. Acupuncture seeks to correct disorders in the body by stimulation of specific points along these meridians through the use of hair fine needles. This encourages the body's own self regulating and self healing mechanisms, in order to restore balance and wellness.
Acupuncture has been shown to stimulate the nervous system, influencing the production of the body's communication substances - hormones and neurotransmitters, raising the levels of specific hormones, prostaglandins, white blood cells, gamma globulins and anti-bodies generally. Acupuncture also stimulates our 'feel good' chemicals – endorphins. The resulting biochemical changes activate the body's self-regulating homeostatic systems, stimulating its natural healing abilities and promoting physical and emotional well-being.