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Acupuncture


Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical procedure involving the insertion and the manipulation of needles at any of more than 360 points in the human body. It is Applied to relieve pain during surgery or in rheumatic conditions, and to treat many other illnesses, acupuncture is used today in most hospitals in China and by some private practitioners in Japan and elsewhere, including the United States and the United Kingdom.

Acupressure, a variant in which the practitioner uses manipulation rather than penetration to alleviate pain or other symptoms, is in widespread use in Japan and has begun to find adherents in the U.S. Also known as Shiatsu, acupressure is administered by pressing with the fingertips—and sometimes the elbows or knees—along a complex network of trigger points in the patient's body.

Acupuncture has proved beneficial in many forms of psychiatric illnesses and mental disorders such as neurasthenia, psychoneuroses, schizophrenia, mental depression, behaviour problems of children, drug addictions, mental states associated with old age, epilepsy and space occupying lesions of the brain.

Furthermore, acupuncture treatment is beneficial in treating insomnia, fits, hyperexcitability and anxiety, forgetfulness, auditory hallucinations, hysteria, sexual impotence, ejaculatio praecox (premature ejaculation) to name a few.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is acupuncture?

How does acupuncture work?

Do I have to believe in it for it to work?

What happens in a treatment?

What should I expect on my first visit?

What does acupuncture feel like?

Are there any contraindications for acupuncture?

Is acupuncture safe?

How many treatments will I need?

Can children receive acupuncture?
 


The information on this web page is provided for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for medical advice.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the ancient art of healing developed over thousands of years as part of the traditional medicine of China, Japan and other Eastern countries.

According to traditional Oriental philosophy, physical and mental health is dependant on the movement of the body's natural energy- known as Qi. It is believed that Qi circulates evenly through a number of channels beneath the skin. When the movement of Qi becomes disrupted, illness may occur. This natural movement of Qi may be disrupted by a number of factors, including emotional states (for example, prolonged grief, anger or fear), overwork, poor diet, infections, trauma or hereditary factors.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles into the skin at specific points in order to restore the natural movement of Qi to bring the body into a balanced state of being.

Acupuncture is a holistic treatment:

Treatment with acupuncture will address not only the symptoms of a particular illness but also the underlying factors which have may have contributed to the development of the illness. Acupuncture may be considered a holistic form of medicine as it works to improve the overall well-being of the patient, rather than simply focusing on the isolated treatment of specific symptoms. This philosophy is illustrated by an ancient Chinese medical proverb:

"Treat the root as well as the branches"

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How does acupuncture work?

It is traditionally believed that acupuncture works via affecting the movement of Qi ('Energy') and Xue (Blood) through discrete channels, or meridians.

Several Western theories have been posited as to how acupuncture works. One explanation is that acupuncture stimulates the body to produce certain naturally-occurring chemicals within the body known as endorphins, which inhibit pain and increase feelings of well-being.

The "Gate Theory" posits a second explanation for the analgesic effects of acupuncture, suggesting that pain impulses are blocked from reaching the spinal cord or brain at various "gates" to these areas. Since a majority of acupuncture points are either located near, or connected to neural structures, this theory suggests that acupuncture stimulates the nervous system to "shut the gate" to the sensation of pain.

Scientific research indicates that acupuncture points are located at areas of decreased electrical resistance.

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Do I have to believe in it for it to work?

It is not necessary to believe in acupuncture for it to work. Acupuncture can work on animals and on small children - who cannot be instructed to "believe" in acupuncture!

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What happens in a treatment?

During an acupuncture session, the acupuncturist will ask certain questions about the complaint in order to assess where to place the acupuncture needles.

Needles may be left in place for varying amounts of time, depending on the effect required, from a few minutes to twenty or thirty minutes.

Alongside acupuncture, other techniques derived from Traditional Chinese Medicine may be used. These include massage, cupping (the use of suction cups placed on the skin), moxabustion (the burning of the herb mugwort (artemisia vulgaris) at specific points), and electro-acupunctuure, the stimulation of certain points with a very low electrical current. These techniques are generally used for pain relief.

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What should I expect on my first visit?

The initial session may take slightly longer than subsequent sessions. A detailed case history will be taken in order to ascertain the underlying pattern of disharmony.

The pulses on both wrists will be felt in order to assess rhythm, strength and various pulse qualities. The colour and coating of the tongue will also be observed. This information will be used to tailor the treatment specifically to the individual.

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What does acupuncture feel like?

Acupuncture needles are very fine and bear little resemblance to needles used for blood tests or injections.

When the needle is inserted, a sensation is elicited which is often described as a tingling sensation, or a dull ache. During treatment patients commonly experience a pleasant feeling of deep relaxation- some even fall asleep!

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Are there any contraindications for acupuncture?

There are several contraindications for acupuncture. These include:

  • Haemophilia
  • Certain acupuncture points and needle manipulations may not be used during pregnancy
  • Severe psychotic conditions or those under the influence of drugs or alcohol

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Is acupuncture safe?

Yes, acupuncture is a safe treatment. Acupuncture needles are sterile and disposable: each needle is only used once.

All members of the British Acupuncture Council observe a Code of Practice which lays down stringent standards of hygiene and sterilization for needles and other equipment. These procedures have been approved by the Department of Health and provide protection against the transmission of infectious diseases.

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How many treatments will I need?

The frequency and number of treatments required will very from patient to patient. Some symptoms may be relieved after a single session, while others may take four to ten treatments.

As a general rule, acute problems usually respond more quickly, while chronic problems of longstanding duration may take longer. While a specific problem is being worked on, you may visit your acupuncturist once or twice a week and gradually reduce the frequency to once or twice a month.

For maintenance of good health, it is traditional in China to have acupuncture at the change of every season
(4 times a year).

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Can children receive acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a safe treatment for children.

Small children will not be required to sit still for very long as needles are generally left in place for a much shorter time.

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