What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture has been practised for thousands of years to treat a number of illnesses. There is focus on improving overall well-being of the patient rather than isolated treatment of particular symptoms.

Acupuncture works to help maintain your body’s equilibrium. In Chinese Medicine terms, it involves the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body to regulate the flow of ‘qi’, your body’s vital energy. For a number of lifestyle and environmental reasons, qi can become disturbed, depleted or blocked, which can result in some symptoms of pain and illness or. In certain instances, traditional acupuncture can be an effective therapy to help restore balance and promote physical and emotional harmony.

Treatment is aimed at the root of your condition as well as your main symptoms. This approach helps with resolving your problem and enhancing your feeling of wellbeing.
You may notice other niggling problems resolve as your main health complaint improves.

Acupuncture originated in China and other far eastern cultures ans still features in mainstream heallthcare, both as stand-alone therapy and in combination with conventional western medicine. Acupuncture is now widely used and is accepted all over the world. In the UK, more and more people are finding out what acupuncture can do for them.

In Traditional Chinese philosophy health is dependent on the body's Qi – its motivating energy. Qi moves in a balanced way through the meridians (channels) beneath the skin. Qi (pronounce Qi as 'chee') has the equal and opposite qualities of Yin and Yang. It is when these become unbalanced that illness may result.

Flow of Qi can be disturbed by: stress, anger, anxiety, fear, poor nutrition, infections, or shock.

Chinese philosophy dictates that the acupuncturist inserts fine needles into the channels of energy, and stimulates the body's healing response to help to restore its natural balance, physically, emotionally and spiritually

The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) suggests that  traditional acupuncture is a "holistic healthcare system that regards pain and illness, whether physical or mental, to be a sign that the body is out of balance and because traditional acupuncture considers every bodily function to be connected and interdependent, it recognises the role emotions play in illness and disease". The  overall aim of treatment is to "restore the body's equilibrium".

The British Acupuncture Council, considers that a traditional acupuncturist's main focus is on correcting the underlying cause of illness and that this will be different for each individual , thus, they point out that there are no 'off-the-peg' treatments and no "points prescriptions".

The translation between the patterns of Chinese medicine and western named conditions is a fascinating one. For nearly every named condition you bring to your practitioner, like migraine headache, or osteoarthritis of the knee, there is a complex weave of different syndromes and patterns within which it is understood. The symptoms are important, a bridge between what you experience and how the practitioner, be they eastern or western, makes sense of what you bring to them. Every symptom has meaning within the eastern tradition.

We as traditional acupuncturists are trained to use  a wide range of diagnostic techniques developed, adjusted, and refined over millennia. Acupuncturists focus on the individual, not their illness, and view symptoms holistically in relation to each other. As each patient is unique, two people with the same western diagnosis may each receive different acupuncture treatments.

The principle of traditional Chinese medicine is that illness and pain occur when the body's qi, or vital energy, cannot flow freely. The body's energy meridians can become obstructed, (in much the same way as an artery becomes blocked or nerve gets trapped). This can be for any number of reasons such as emotional and physical stress, poor nutrition, infection, or injury.

The inserting of ultra-fine, sterile needles into specific acupuncture points by a traditional acupuncturist seeks to re-establish the free flow of qi to restore balance and , most importantly, to trigger the body's natural healing response.

From the Western perspective; Acupuncture can be considered the insertion of needles into the skin and underlying tissues in key ‘points’ for therapeutic or preventative purposes. The stimulation of certain “trigger points” – probably nerve fibres or receptors – with needles, electrical impulses or lasers is thought to induce rhythmic discharges that cause a release of endogenous opioids and oxytocin.

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