Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Acupuncture is a healthcare system based on ancient principles dating back nearly two thousand years. It has a very positive model of good health and function and looks at pain and illness as signs that the body is out of balance. The aim of an acupuncture treatment is to restore the body’s equilibrium. It is based on the belief that Qi flows along meridians, or energy channels, all over the body, linked to our internal organs, and when there is imbalance, such as Qi or Blood Stagnation, Qi or Blood Deficiency, or an imbalance of the yin and yang energies of the body, it gives rise to various pathologies. However, unlike the Western Medicine approach which is more of a “one size fits all”, TCM takes a more holistic approach. The body and mind are very much interconnected. Emotions when out of balance can affect our internal organs, but also an imbalance of the energy in our internal organs can influence our emotions. The focus is very much on the individual, not their illness, and all the symptoms are seen in relation to each other. Each patient is unique.
Traditional acupuncturist will take into account the patient’s emotional and physical aspect of their life, their nutrition, injuries, past and present traumas, etc.
During a treatment, ultra-fine needles are inserted into specific acupuncture points to re-establish a free flow of qi, which will restore balance and trigger the body’s natural healing response.
Acupuncture has been used to treat a wide range of conditions such as:
- Anxiety and depression
- Headaches and migraines
- Pain (both muscular and neurological)
- IBS and other gastrointestinal disorders
- Menopausal symptoms
- Support during fertility treatments and pregnancy
For more information about how acupuncture can help, you can visit the British Acupuncture Council website on www.acupuncture.org.uk or you can view the World Health Organisation list of diseases and conditions for which acupuncture has been tested on clinical trials on this link: https://www.acupuncture.org.uk/public-content/public-traditional-acupuncture/4026-who-list-of-conditions.html
Treatments might sometimes include the use of the following techniques:
Here is a brief explanation of each technique.
Cupping: This is an ancient technique used both in traditional Chinese Medicine and in Middle Eastern cultures. A vacuum is created inside a glass or bamboo cup by inserting a naked flame and removing it, then quickly placing the cup in the area to be treated before the vacuum is lost. Cups are then either left in place or the “sliding cups” techniques is used after a thin layer of oil is massaged into the skin. Cupping helps the blood and qi to flow more easily in stagnated areas. By lifting different layers of tissues all the way from the superficial skin down to the fascia it helps release tight tissues and encourage blood flow to speed up healing.
Moxa: this technique traditionally uses dried mugwort herb, which is then either rolled up in a long stick, or used loose and placed on needles or inside moxa boxes. Moxa is burnt and its heat brings warmth to particular areas or acupuncture points to treat “cold” in the body and encourage the smooth flow of blood and qi.
Guasha: this particular technique of traditional Chinese Medicine involves the application of pressure and stimulation of the skin using a round-edged instrument such as a jade tool or a porcelain spoon. When guasha is performed there often appear red or purple spots called “sha”. However, the skin is not damaged in any way and the “sha” disappears in a couple of days. Guasha is used to move qi and/or blood stagnation, considered to be the main cause of pain and stiffness in muscles and joints. It can therefore promote good circulation and release tension.