Acupuncture is one of the longest established forms of healthcare in the world. Acupuncturists are trained to use subtle diagnostic techniques that have been developed and refined for thousands of years. The focus is on you as an individual, not your illness, and all symptoms are seen in relation to each other. Treatment involves the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body to affect the flow of your body’s qi, or vital energy.
According to Ancient Chinese teachings, vital energy travels through your body along channels called meridians. In more recent years, medical scientists have discovered myofascial pathways that follow the meridians recorded by the early acupuncturists, and the concept of qi itself may overlap with developing knowledge of how cells in the body communicate. When you are in good health, the flow of energy is smooth and uninterrupted, but when you are exposed to stress this flow of energy is interrupted. This stress can be both physical stress such as exposure to a virus or injuries, or emotional stress such as home pressures or bereavements.
Acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system and the release of neurochemical messenger molecules causing biochemical changes in the body and influencing the body’s natural homeostasis, promoting physical and emotional wellbeing.
Acupuncture can be used to treat a variety of conditions but is commonly used in the treatment and management of pain such as headaches/migraines, osteoarthritis, musculoskeletal pain, and other forms of chronic pain. It can also be used to treat other things such as insomnia, anxiety, stress and IBS.
Cupping: Cupping is an age-old technique used in traditional Chinese medicine to stimulate acupuncture points or larger areas of the body. Cupping is often practised alongside acupuncture but can also be used as a treatment in its own right.Cups are rounded and can be made of rubber, glass or very occasionally, bamboo. In cupping, the practitioner creates a vacuum inside the cup and quickly places it onto the skin where treatment is needed. The cup is left in place for anything up to 20 minutes. The practitioner will often use several cups in one treatment.If large areas of the body need treating, a technique known as ‘sliding cups’ is used. A thin layer of massage oil is spread over the skin, the cups are then placed onto the body in the usual way and slid along the muscles being treated. This sliding method helps the blood and ‘qi’ to flow more easily in areas of stagnation.Cupping is not painful, however it can leave reddish patches on the skin, like circular bruises. Although these marks resemble bruises, the muscles have not been traumatised in any way.
Electroacupucture: Electroacupuncture is a form of acupuncture where a small electric current is passed between pairs of acupuncture needles with the use of a TENS machine. This form of acupuncture can restore health and well-being, and is particularly good for treating pain.
Moxabustion (moxa): Moxibustion is an essential part of Chinese medicine which uses moxa, a soft woolly substance prepared from mugwort leaves (Artemisia vulgaris). In moxibustion the moxa is placed either directly on the skin or held just above it, over specific acupuncture points or meridians. The herb is lit and as it smoulders slowly, a therapeutic heat permeates the skin and affects the flow of “qi” (energy) and blood in the area being treated.
Auricular acupuncture: Ear acupuncture, also known as auricular therapy, is based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Auricular therapy is widely used for many conditions, including addiction treatment, mood disorders, obesity, pain, and other conditions. This medical system emphasises a holistic approach to medicine, an approach that treats the whole person. The acupuncture points found on the ear help to regulate the body’s internal organs, structures, and functions.Ear acupuncture is generally incorporated into a regular acupuncture treatment. In addition to using acupuncture points on the rest of the body, your acupuncturist may select a few ear acupuncture points that they feel will be helpful for your particular condition.