ABOUT ACUPUNCTUREAcupuncture originated in Asia around 3,000 years ago. Obviously little was known then of the complex bio chemical processes which occur in our bodies. However, they did have an overall concept of the body as an energetic system. They called this energy Qi (chi).
The flow of Qi is controlled by the principles of Yin and Yang. Yin is a slowing, cooling calming process and Yang is the opposite, an energising, warming and exciting process. The balance between these is important. If they are out of balance our bodily processes can be either over or underactive creating physical or emotional symptoms.
The balance of Yin and Yang and the flow of Qi can be affected by many factors. These can be emotional such as fear, anger, grief or worry, hereditary problems, infections, trauma, the climate, poor nutrition and lifestyle.
The skill of the practitioner is in identifying the root cause of your symptoms and restoring the equilibrium in your body and mind. We do this by carefully selecting points on the body and using ultra thin needles to restore the flow of Qi.
This is a highly individual process. Three people with similar symptoms might receive different treatment depending on that root cause. One of the strengths of acupuncture is that it treats the whole person so that not only your symptoms but also your general health and wellbeing should improve.
WHAT HAPPENS?Your first appointment will last about 90 minutes. This is because we take a very detailed history from you covering not only your medical background but also more general information such as your sleep patterns and digestion. There is a short, non-intrusive physical examination, I learn a lot from your pulse and tongue for example.
Your first treatment is included in this first session. Whilst some people get some relief from symptoms after this visit, it is more normal to experience a sense of relaxation and general well being. As a guide most people seem to get lasting benefits from about six treatments but some respond more quickly. Chronic complaints may require longer term treatment or returning for less frequent 'maintenance'. Later appointments last 45 minutes.
So, what about those needles!
AFRAID OF NEEDLES?So am I! At least the ones we experience at the doctor or dentist. These are relatively thick, hollow needles and so they do hurt. Acupuncture needles are exceptionally fine. They are so thin that when they are gently tapped in they pass through the pain sensors in the skin very quickly. The brain barely registers their entry, and therefore doesn't generates a major pain response. There is sometimes a fleeting sensation.
Many of the needles will have only a momentary insertion. Those which are left in for a little while may create a tingling sensation. I use Japanese needling techniques which are especially gentle. I have treated many people who were initially very anxious but who quickly found their treatment restful and relaxing.
Not all treatment is with needles, I also use moxabustion, cupping and gua sha.
MOXABUSTIONMoxa is a herb which is burnt to introduce gentle warmth into the body. This warms and moves the qi and is particularly good for muscular and arthritic conditions. Small cones of moxa are placed on the skin and are allowed to smoulder gently. They are removed before they become uncomfortable. Larger areas are warmed by passing a rolled stick of moxa above the skin. Moxabustion is very effective for people who feel the cold or who have poor energy levels and is a very comforting treatment.
CUPPING AND GUA SHASuction cups are applied to the body to stimulate the circulation of blood and qi to an area or an acupuncture point. Sometimes the cups will be left in place for a while or they may be gently moved around creating a massage like effect. This treatment is excellent for muscular problems and chest conditions, also reducing the symptoms of viruses and hay fever.
Gua Sha is a folk remedy widely used throughout Eastern Europe and Asia. It has similar applications to cupping but uses a rounded edged instrument and a scraping action to stimulate the qi and blood circulation.