Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into different points on the body and has
been practiced as part of a complete system of medicine for at least 2000 years. Central to Chinese medical theory is the idea that Qi or energy, flows through specific channels in the body. These channels connect different areas and organs together, and stimulating different points along these pathways create both local and systemic change within the body. It is this network that is used to stimulate the bodies own self healing abilities.
Other metods of stimulating the acupuncture channels and points include, massage and stretching techniques (tui na), cupping, (suction) gua sha, (rubbing) and moxa ( heat). Diet and lifestyle advice are also important tools to help restore and maintain good health. Qi gong and Tai chi exercises are also important methods of self healing.
When a person comes to see an acupuncturist a full case history is taken and many questions asked about the presenting condition and other aspects of the persons health. The pulses are also felt and the tongue looked at. These give more information about the state of the internal organs and a persons vitality.
Chinese medicine is like detective work, each piece of information is like a clue and gives the practitioner some idea of the state of the bodies resources and the depth of the problem. When all of this information is weaved together it creates a pattern of disharmony or diagnosis. From here the practitioner knows what principles and methods to use to restore the body back to good health. Inherent in this process is educating the patient about how the problem arose and what lifestyle factors to change inorder to prevent the problem from returning. Empowering the patient is a key part of the healing process.
Acupuncture is used by tens of thousands of people every day all over the world to treat a wide range of different problems and issues. Acupuncture forms part of one of the worlds most cohesive and effective systems of medicne, and in China is still used in hospitals alongside herbal medicine, western drugs and surgery. Over the last 40 years Acupuncture use has grown rapidly in the west and it is now one of the most commonly used complimentary therapies. In 2009 there were over 4 million acupuncture treatments given in the United Kingdom alone.