Disruptions to the flow of our Qi energy are seen as the root cause of disease in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Acupuncture is the central method of TCM because it is the most direct way to restore the state of Qi in the body. Qi is seen to circulate around the body through pathways called meridians, and placing needles on specific points along the meridians aims to influence Qi in ways that alleviate the symptoms a person is experiencing.
There are around 2000 acupuncture points, and although there are common combinations, the skill of acupuncture ultimately lies in selecting the ones most relevant to the condition of each client, which is unique even when common ailments are involved. Almost all of my treatments involve acupuncture, but sometimes other modalities such as herbal medicine, cupping or meridian based massage may be key.
TCM practitioners believe that the stimulation caused by needling affects the nervous system and creates biochemical changes in the body. MRI scans show measurable effects on the brain when acupuncture needles are applied. CT scanning also reveals that the tissue at acupuncture points has increased density of blood vessels and oxygen pressure (even when not stimulated, see image).
Although well-funded and large-scale studies are rare, research has shown that acupuncture is effective for a range of conditions. Acupuncture is increasingly used in mainstream medicine. For instance, its natural analgesic effects have been recognised for pain management in the UK and the USA, where it is now widely available through the publicly funded health care system. Although we have not yet reached that point in Australia, acupuncture is increasingly used in hospital settings for specialised purposes such as management of cancer treatment side effects.
The FAQ pages on this website give more information about what to expect if you are new to acupuncture. It’s also worth reading around reputable independent sources, such as this overview from Johns Hopkins University.
Feel free to be in touch to find out more about how acupuncture can help you.