ACUPUNCTURE In Depth
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the practice of inserting tiny needles at specific points on the body to treat illness or promote health and well-being. Oriental medical theory describes a network of energy pathways in the body (meridians) that can be accessed on the surface at the Acupuncture points. The points to be used in a session are chosen by the practitioner based on traditional theories outlined in texts that are at least 2000 years old. However, these days point selection is also based on modern research studies.
What sort of conditions can Acupuncture assist with?
Acupuncture can be useful for a range of conditions. Here are just some of the conditions that Acupuncture might help:
Acupuncture may assist your immune system – Chinese medicine treatment may be able to assist with the management of pain, stress and fatigue related to some immune issues, in consultation with other treating health practitioners
Acupuncture may assist with unwanted digestive symptoms – Acupuncture may be able to assist with the management of symptoms and stress associated with digestive issues.
Acupuncture may assist with headaches – Acupuncture treatment can help with relief and management of pain and the stress that can be associated with dealing with pain.
Acupuncture may assist with unwanted pregnancy symptoms – Acupuncture may be able to assist with symptoms associated with pregnancy, such as Pregnancy related musculoskeletal pains, nausea and vomiting
Acupuncture may be used as an adjunct treatment to help support fertility treatment – There is continuing research about how acupuncture can assist with the effectiveness of IVF treatment and you should consult your treating practitioner/s about how acupuncture may be able to help you.
In some of these conditions, the best results are achieved with a combination of Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.
What happens in an Acupuncture session?
Initial Acupuncture treatments typically last 60-90 minutes (depending on the style of Acupuncture and your condition), while follow-up sessions last 45-60 minutes. During the initial session, you will be able to discuss what’s troubling you in depth. After a thorough history, the practitioner assesses the body as a whole (through palpation of the Acupuncture meridians (channels) and examination of the pulse and tongue) as well as specific areas of the body that are giving you trouble. The Acupuncture treatment consists of very gentle insertion of fine needles at Acupuncture points. Acupuncture needles are much thinner than a doctor’s hypodermic needle. Upon insertion there may be a slight prick like an insect bite. After the needle is in, there’s often a feeling of warmth and tingling. All needles used are sterile and disposable.
Needling is often reinforced by moxibustion – the use of a refined herb (moxa, also known as Artemisia vulgaris, or mugwort) on the acupoints. Your practitioner may also use massage, cupping, and Chinese herbal medicine to complement the Acupuncture treatment. Of course, lifestyle also plays a large part in many conditions, and tweaking this can bring great benefits as well — so this is another area that may be addressed during sessions.
Most people find Acupuncture sessions extremely relaxing – the feeling is similar to after you’ve had a good massage.
Can kids have Acupuncture?
Infants are usually treated by the Shonishin approach, which uses a combination of massage and rubbing/tapping of a special implement on the Acupuncture points (needles are not generally inserted). This is usually done with bub sitting on Mum or Dad’s lap. Older children usually have a mixture of Shonishin and needling – they generally take very well to it because the needles are so fine.
How soon will I see a response?
Typically, we see a response in 4-6 sessions, often sooner, although some ailments respond more slowly. The aim is then to decrease the frequency of treatments, as the body’s own healing systems take over. What we are really trying to do with Acupuncture is move the body towards homeostasis (balance). The body has an intrinsic ability to heal itself, and we want to activate this process; to nudge the body in the right direction.