What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient system of medicine. 4000 years of study and treatment have honed this discipline into one of the most successful methods of treating pain and chronic disorders the world has known. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), many health problems respond favourably to acupuncture. In Eastern medicine, dis-ease arises from imbalance. Both internal (emotions such as fear, anger, and sadness) and external factors (environmental pollution, moisture, and temperature) can result in a pattern of disharmony. The goal of acupuncture is to restore balance within the body and in turn help alleviate disease.
Why choose acupuncture?
Acupuncture (Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM) treatments are holistic. This means that it takes an integrated view of the person. Mind, body, and emotions are seen to interact and affect each other.
Treatment is safe to the patient
Single-use, disposable, pre-sterilized needles are used for treatment. Once the treatment is over, the therapist removes the needles from the patient and disposes the used needles in a waste container.
Treatment is specific to the patient
TCM looks at the disease and the person. People are unique with different strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, a disease pattern can be specific to them.
Acupuncture helps prevent disease
The aim of an acupuncture treatment, in addition to relieving symptoms, is to restore balance and health to each individual. It can therefore be used to prevent illness and enhance longevity.
Acupuncture (TCM) allows patients to understand their disease. Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on direct observation of health and disease. It relies more on patient information than diagnostic tests. Treatment is not something which is “done” to the patient, but is given in partnership with the patient’s own developing understanding of their disease and health processes.
What conditions can acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture can be applicable to, and effective in a surprisingly wide variety of conditions. 4000 years of study and treatment have honed this discipline into one of the most successful methods of treating pain and chronic disorders the world has known.
According to the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), many health problems respond favourably to acupuncture. Amongst these, you will find: arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, migraines and headaches, stomach and respiratory disorders, neurological disease, and many life-threatening diseases. These are just some of the symptoms acupuncture can alleviate without the use of unnatural synthetic chemicals.
Most patients have tried many different forms of treatment with little or no help. Often, they turn to acupuncture as a last resort. Most of these patients have found relief from these symptoms and dramatic reduction in pain from their disorder. Many wish that they had tried acupuncture in the first place.
N.B. Although acupuncture has proven helpful in most disorders, it is not a replacement for conventional medicines, and you should still consult your family doctor.
What happens during an acupuncture treatment?
During the first consultation, the goal of the practitioner is to determine the nature of the disharmony in the patient’s mind and body. This is accomplished through assessment of the patient’s symptoms and treatment to date, past medical and family history, lifestyle and diet, systemic behaviour such as digestion and circulation, sleep patterns, and emotional feelings.
The assessment may also include examination of the tongue for its structure, color, and coating, as well as the pulses at the wrists which are felt for their quality, rhythm, and strength. With an overall picture of the cause or causes of the problem, the treatment follows.
You will be placed in a comfortable seated or reclined position in a quiet private room. 5-15 small, pre-sterilized, disposable needles are used during the treatment. You will be encouraged to relax and many people fall asleep. Treatments last between 20-45 minutes depending on how long you had the condition.
N.B. Single-use, disposable, pre-sterilized needles are the standard tool of an acupuncture therapist.
Does it hurt?
Some people would like to try acupuncture but don’t because they assume it will be painful. In fact, as the needles used are much finer than those used for injections, only a slight prick is felt as the needle goes through the skin. When the needle reaches the desired point (4-5mm below the surface of the skin), there is another sensation often described as a dull ache.
The treatment schedule
The number of treatments needed depends on each individual’s condition. As your condition improves, the frequency of treatments can be decreased. A good maintenance program is to have a set of treatments at the beginning of each season. Your therapist will advise you of the best schedule to follow.
After a treatment
It is best to rest for a few minutes after a treatment. You can resume your normal activities, but in order to enhance the effect of the treatment, avoid heavy exercise. Most people notice an immediate improvement in their condition and continued improvements with repeated treatments. Occasionally after a treatment, you may feel tired, headachy, heavy sensation, or experience other odd symptoms. These are not unusual. It is the body’s natural reaction to changes. Please phone your therapist if you are concerned.