Acupuncture plays a very important role in Chinese medicine. It’s aim is to balance the body’s vital energy, or “qi” (pronounced ‘chi’) and restore health. If we look after ourselves, eat the right foods and undertake the right kinds of exercise, we can increase the amount of qi in our bodies and avoid emotional distress, lack of energy and illness. Qi can be depleted or lost through too much, too little or the wrong kinds of food, drink, exercise, work and even sex!
The body is believed to be comprised of a network of meridian channels that house our qi and link our bodies various organs and functions. It’s along these channels that specific acupoints are stimulated with small needles to combat imbalances.
What benefits does Acupuncture offer?
Acupuncture is a key element of Chinese Medicine, and almost every condition will respond well to traditional Chinese medicine treatment. Acupuncture, specifically, can assist with:
- Weight management
- Quitting smoking
- Emotional and Psychological problems
- Acute problems, such as headaches, coughs, colds etc
- Long-standing chronic conditions, such as angina, irritable bowel syndrome, PMS, eczema and rheumatism
- Pain relief, particularly in childbirth
Once you’ve found a reputable acupuncturist in your area (check out the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association) check they are accredited and if they offer private health cover rebates. You can expect to pay up to $100 for an initial consult and around $60 for follow up appointments.
The initial diagnosis and lifestyle counselling is carried out whilst seated; the acupuncturist will ask for some information about your health concern and past medical history. You will be asked to stick out your tongue (brush your teeth before you go!) and the practitioner will take your pulse. Most traditional Chinese medicine practitioners can tell exactly what is going on in your body by looking at your face and eyes, so don’t feel uneasy if they seem to stare.
You will then be asked to lie down. The acupuncturist will place small needles in various places on your body. It can be slightly painful, especially if the acupoint is sensitive due to blocked energy; the needles are only inserted superficially and the pain will subside once the needle is removed and the energy is unblocked, but be sure to tell your acupuncturist if there is any kind of discomfort. You will be left to relax for anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes, depending on the practitioner, during which time you are encouraged to breathe deeply to assist your body to heal. The practitioner will return, remove the needles, and give you any further advice they may find necessary to assist you with your health issue.
How many sessions do I need?
That is really up to you and your acupuncturist. Some people have acupuncture on a regular basis to prevent disease and because they enjoy the benefits they believe they get from it. Some people only attend when they require assistance.
Acupuncture was initially used as a preventative medicine, but is now widely popular amongst Western cultures as an aid in many health issues. Whether it be used on its own, or combined with other aspects of Chinese medicine, such as herbalism or tuina massage, its popularity is testament to the benefits that can be gained from this ancient holistic system of healing.