17:23 18 April 2005
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an integral part of Chinese medicine. It is based on the Chinese belief that there is a continuous flow of vital energy that is the primary force existing in all life.
Imbalances in the body, of this energy, called Chi (or Qi), can lead to illness. Acupuncture has developed over thousands of years and first records of its use date back 2,000 years. It is still used extensively in China and other Asian countries and is becoming very popular in the West.
By stimulating various points in the body the Acupuncturist aims to restore a healthy flow of energy in the individual. Energy flows along channels in our body called meridians, each of which affect a particular area of our body.
Approximately 1,000 points on the body are used by practitioners to access this vital energy, restoring harmony to both body and mind. Stimulating these points can encourage the body's own healing processes, relieving pain, boosting the immune system and repairing damage.
This is done by inserting fine needles into the acupuncture points to balance the energy flow. What problems are treated? Acupuncture can be used to treat many conditions and also is also used as a preventative measure to restore balance before illness occurs.
It may be used in conjunction with modern medicine for both acute and chronic conditions.
Commonly treated ailments are:
What does treatment involve?
Acupuncture is a holistic approach to health and the practitioner will take into account your lifestyle habits and emotional state as well as the symptoms you are experiencing.
The practitioner may feel the pulses on your wrists as well as examine the tongue before deciding on the correct treatment. The sterile needles used in acupuncture are much finer than those used in blood tests.
You will feel a sensation, like tingling, rather than any pain. The needles may be left in place for a few seconds or up to 30 minutes depending on your condition. The depth also varies according to the individual.
Other techniques used to stimulate acupuncture points are acupressure, massage, lasers, electro-acupuncture or the warming of the point with smouldering herbs (moxa). These techniques all help to boost your overall vitality and well-being.
Practitioners should be members of the British Acupuncture Council or governing body relative to your location. Accredited practitioners will have completed a thorough training course and adhere to strict standards of sterilisation and hygiene.
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