What is Traditional acupuncture?
Traditional acupuncture is a branch of Chinese Medicine that uses fine needles to stimulate certain points around the body. It’s worth mentioning that the needles are sterile and single use. Different needles (size/gauge) are used depending on the area of the body that they’re being used on. The needles are very fine and come in a plastic ‘guide tube’ which maintains their cleanliness.
Insertion of the needle is painless. Once in situ, the needle is manipulated to produce a dull achy sensation known as ‘de qi’. There are hundreds of different acupuncture points. A selection of points will be chosen depending on the patient’s condition.
How does acupuncture work?
The modern scientific explanation of how acupuncture works is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal chord and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body’s own internal regulating system.
In more traditional language, insertion of the acupuncture needles regulates the flow of qi, the body’s vital energy which travels around the body via channels or meridians. For a number of reasons, qi can become disturbed, depleted or blocked. A common saying amongst acupuncturists is: “pain no flow….flow no pain”. In other words, when qi is flowing correctly, then the body is in balance.
The language of traditional acupuncture is a reflection of it’s cultural and historic origins. It sees symptoms of pain and illness as a sign that the body is out of balance. This may be as a result of poor/over nutrition, emotional and physical stress, injury, infection or a constitutional weakness. Physical, emotional and psychological symptoms are seen as interconnected. Whilst acupuncture can be used to treat individual symptoms, the art of good treatment is to identify the root cause of the problem. Traditional acupuncturists will aim to treat the person, not just the disease.
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More information on the History of acupuncture.
In some cases, patients may only need a few sessions, in others a longer course of treatment may be recommended. This will be discussed at the Initial consultation. For patients who don’t feel acupuncture is for them, why not consider Tuina massage.
Does acupuncture hurt?
No! Watch the short clip below where Charlie Buck of the British Acupuncture Council demonstrates how fine acupuncture needles are!