Today, acupuncture is an effective, natural and increasingly popular form of health care that is being used by people from a wide range of cultural and social backgrounds.
Acupuncture takes a holistic approach to understanding normal function and disease processes and focuses as much on the prevention of illness as on the treatment.
When healthy, an abundant supply of qi (vital energy) or 'life energy' flows through the body's meridians (a network of invisible channels through the body). If the flow of qi in the meridians becomes blocked or there is an inadequate supply of qi, then the body fails to maintain harmony, balance and order, and disease or illness follows. This can result from stress, overwork, poor diet, disease pathogens, weather and environmental conditions, and other lifestyle factors and becomes evident to experienced practitioners through observable signs of bodily dysfunction. Practitioners look carefully for these signs of health and dysfunction, paying particular attention not only to the presenting signs and symptoms, but also to the medical history, general constitution, and the pulse and tongue.
Acupuncture treatment involves the insertion of fine, sterile needles into specific sites (acupuncture points) along the body's meridians to clear energy blockages and encourage the normal flow of qi through the individual. The practitioner may also stimulate the acupuncture points using other methods, including moxibustion, cupping, laser therapy, electro-stimulation and massage, in order to re-establish the flow of qi.
As a natural form of healing, acupuncture has the following benefits:
- Provides drug-free pain relief
- Effectively treats a wide range of acute and chronic ailments
- Treats the underlying cause of disease and illness as well as the symptoms
- Provides an holistic approach to the treatment of disease and illness, linking body, mind and emotions
- Assists in the prevention against disease and illness as well as the maintenance of general well-being
Acupuncture is known to treat a wide range of disorders including:
Neurological conditions such as headaches, migraines, difficulty sleeping, nervous tension, stroke, some forms of deafness, facial and inter-costal neuralgia, trigeminal neuralgia, some forms of paralysis, squeal of poliomyelitis, peripheral neuropathy, noises in the ears, dizziness, and Meier’s disease.
Cardiovascular disorders such as high or low blood pressure, fluid retention, chest pain, angina pectoris, poor circulation, cold hands and feet, and muscle cramps.
Respiratory conditions such as bronchial asthma, acute and chronic bronchitis, acute tonsillitis, rhinitis, sinusitis, hay fever, chronic cough, laryngitis, sore throat, influenza and the common cold.
Digestive system disorders such as toothache, post-extraction pain, gingivitis, mouth ulcers, hiccough, spasms of the esophagus, gastric and duodenal ulcers, gastric hyperacidity, gastritis, heartburn, hiatus hernia syndrome, flatulence, paralytic illus., colitis, diarrhea, constipation, hemorrhoids, liver and gall bladder disorders, and weight control.
Urogenital disorders such as cystitis, prostatitis, orchitis, low sexual vitality, urinary retention, kidney disorders, nocturnal enuresis, and neurogenic bladder dysfunction.
Gynecological and obstetric disorders such as premenstrual tension, painful, heavy or irregular, or the absence of periods, abnormal uterine bleeding or discharge, hormonal disturbances, disorders associated with menopause, prolapsed of the uterus or bladder, difficulty with conception, and morning sickness.
Skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, nerve rash, herpes zoster, acne, and scar tissue.
Eye conditions such as visual disorders, red, sore, itchy or watery eyes, conjunctivitis, simple cataracts, myopia in children, and central retinitis.
Musculoskeletal disorders such as osteoarthritis, sciatica, lumbago, weak back, low back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, tenosynovitis, shoulder and neck pain, cervicobrachial syndrome, 'frozen shoulder', and 'tennis elbow'.
Sporting injuries such as sprained ankles and knees, cartilage problems, tearing of muscles, torn ligaments and bruises.
Psychological conditions such as depression, phobias, emotional disturbances, anxiety, nervousness and addictions such as smoking.
* The disorders above which appear in bold have been recognized by the World Health Organization (December 1979) as having been successfully treated by acupuncture. The disorders which do not appear in bold above are other common disorders which have been found to respond well to acupuncture.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese herbal medicine takes a holistic approach to understanding normal function and disease processes and focuses as much on the prevention of illness as on the treatment.
Most diseases or illnesses present with a core set of recognizable signs and symptoms, but the actual presentation of a particular disease or illness will vary from person to person. For this reason, people with similar health conditions may be provided with quite different Chinese herbal medicine.
A qualified practitioner is able to prescribe a Chinese herbal formula that specifically matches and treats your individual health problem. As your condition changes and improves with treatment, the Chinese herbal treatment is also adjusted and modified until the desired health outcome is achieved.
There are over 500 herbs commonly used in Chinese herbal medicine. You may find many of them in your garden or kitchen, such as spring onion, ginger and garlic, while others such as chrysanthemum, gingko tree leaf and common mint, are more likely to be found in your garden!
Chinese herbal medicines can be prescribed into formulae which take into account the individual therapeutic action of each herb and well as the effects when combined together. There are also many well-known ready-made herbal formulae in pill or liquid form, which have been used for over hundred years for many common illnesses. A well constructed formula maximizes the effectiveness for treating a particular condition, while counteracting and minimizing the unwanted effects of an individual herb.
In addition to providing effective treatment for a wide range of health disorders, Chinese herbal medicine may also be used to assist with general health maintenance and disease prevention. By strengthening and enhancing normal body functions, the immune system is boosted and a general sense of well-being promoted.
Conditions commonly treated with Chinese Herbal Medicine include:
- Anxiety, depression and stress
- Common cold and influenza
- Headaches and migraines
- Constipation and diarrhea
- Digestive disorder
- Insomnia and fatigue
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Skin disorders
- Fluid retention
- Rheumatoid and osteoarthritis
- Common gynecology disorders
- Infertility, ante and post natal conditions
- Impotence and prostate disorders
- Disorders associated with menopause
What to expect on your first visit
Acupuncture is a safe, gentle therapy for many acute and chronic health complaints
Many aspects of your initial acupuncture treatment resemble a conventional Western visit. A full health history will be taken, along with basic vital signs. The acupuncturist may perform a physical exam. Questions will be asked regarding symptoms, health, and lifestyle. An acupuncturist will also check pulses and look at your tongue, which are two components of the TCM system of diagnosis. The 12 pulse positions on the wrist each correspond to a specific meridian and organ. The tongue is viewed as a map of the body that reflects the general health of the meridians and organs. This information is then used to create a complete and accurate assessment of both the Western diagnosis and the TCM diagnosis of where the qi has become blocked or imbalanced. Based on this diagnosis, the acupuncturist will devise a treatment plan that may include acupuncture, herbs, dietary recommendations, and specific exercises.
How should I prepare for my acupuncture treatment?
Wear comfortable, loose fitting clothes so that it is easy for the acupuncturist to locate and needle points on your arms and legs.
What does acupuncture feel like?
Acupuncture needles are sterile, metallic, solid, and hair-thin. People experience acupuncture differently, but most feel minimal or no pain; as the needles are inserted. You may experience a vague tingling, numbness, or heaviness where the acupuncture needle has been inserted. Sometimes people experience a sensation of energy spreading and moving around the needle. These reactions are a sign that the treatment is working. Generally the needles are retained for 15-30 minutes and then removed. After the treatment, you may feel energized or may experience a deep sense of relaxation and well being.