Acupuncture uses fine needles inserted at specific points on the body surface to restore or maintain health. It is a powerful therapy which originated in China over 2000 years ago and has been practiced and developed ever since. It is part of the wider system of Traditional Chinese Medicine which also includes herbal medicine, dietary therapy, manipulation and massage. Chinese Medicine understands the workings of the body quite differently from Western Medicine, and diagnosis begins by asking questions about all aspects of your health. Close examination of your tongue and the quality of your pulses also gives us important information.
We are looking at what sort of imbalances there are in your energy or Qi, and where they are. This may be in one organ in your body – if your Lungs lack energy you may find breathing difficult or be susceptible to colds; Qi may go the wrong way – indigestion or vomiting suggests Stomach energy is going up when it should go down; pain results from Qi getting stuck in one place and not being able to flow smoothly, while chronic tiredness is often the result of insufficient Qi in the body as a whole. Some problems are caused by too much heat or cold or damp in the body, or not enough moisture, or Yin, to cool the system – such as frequently occurs in women during the menopause; Yang, or warm, energy may be insufficient and you may feel cold or it may rise, like fire out of control, a frequent cause of headaches.
As well as diagnosing your problem in terms of Traditional Chinese Medicine we like to be able to understand and explain to you how we think your imbalances have arisen, so that you can make adjustments to your diet or lifestyle (e.g. taking more exercise, or allowing more time for relaxation) so that the problem does not re-emerge at a later date. The practitioner will then work out a course of treatment to correct the imbalances, choosing which acupuncture points are most appropriate for you.
Acupuncture is currently used in hospitals throughout China. It has also become increasingly popular in the West in recent years. The World Health Organisation has recognised its success in the treatment of a wide range of diseases.