What is Acupuncture ?
Acupuncture is a prominent part of Chinese Medicine, a holistic system of healthcare tracing its origins back 3,000 years and more. Its central premise is that there exists a lifeforce ( known as "Qi" - or " Prana" under the Indian Vedic system ) which animates all living things, and matter - and that pathology develops when there are disturbances, or blockages, in the flow of this Qi.
How does it work ?
Chinese Medicine has evolved its own pathology and physiology, providing a comprehensive analysis of how the body functions, and how disorders can arise. It asserts that external factors - such as lifestyle, diet, environment, climate and temperature - can and do trigger changes in a person's health.
The 'Qi' which flows through the body travels along twelve main meridians ( six Yin and six Yang ) and numerous minor ones along whose pathways over a thousand acupuncture points are located. By needling one or more of these a practitioner seeks to restore harmony to the flow of Qi in the body, and thus return the patient to good health.
The treatment usually imparts a sense of relaxation, wellbeing and sometimes even, of serenity.
How is an illness diagnosed ?
Diagnosis is achieved principally through listening to the twelve pulses and observing subtle body signs, as well as assessing the patient's own description of symptoms. Observation of a patient's colour, face, body, nails, temperature and tongue is also employed.
Does it hurt ?
There is no need to be concerned.The needles are extremely thin, typically no wider than three human hairs and often a patient is unaware that he/she is being treated.In some instances there is a minimal sensation various described as an " ache " , a " tingling " or a " drawing " .
Is it safe ?
Only fully sterilised single use disposable needles are employed. Adverse incidents and unwanted side effects have been shown to be extremely rare when the practitioner is fully trained and qualified ( Rampes and James 1995).
What conditions can it help ?
See under Is Acupuncture right for me ?
How many treatments are necessary ?
In general the more established a condition the longer it takes to put right.Patients should not expect miracles although sometimes the relief obtained can be immediate and dramatic.At the end of the initial consultation it is usual for a course of treatment to be discussed with the patient. This can be from between two and six sessions following which progress is reviewed with the patient and any further action recommended if necessary.