What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an important and unique part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which has evolved over thousands of years. Acupuncture is a therapy that helps activate the body’s own healing ability to rebalance & restore itself naturally. It is based on the view that the whole body is interconnected and therefore the focus is treating the root patterns of disharmony rather than simply treating the symptoms of disease. It has been developed, tested, researched and refined over centuries to give a complex and detailed understanding of the body’s energetic balance. The focus is on the individual, not their illness, and all the symptoms are seen in relation to each other. Each patient is unique; two people with the same western diagnosis may well receive different acupuncture treatments.
Acupuncture has been safely used to help relieve pain, treat illness, help prevent disease and maintaining well-being. The tradition is as much about the maintenance of health as the management of disease.
What is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?
TCM is a system of medicine used to diagnose and treat pain and illness, prevent disease and improve wellbeing. It is a complete health care system evolving over at least 5000 years of empirical research and observation. Acupuncture is an important and unique part of TCM. Historically, TCM was used as an aid to maintain good health.
Together with acupuncture TCM includes the following:
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese herbal medicine is a highly elaborate system of natural healing that has been used by millions of people for all kinds of health conditions in Asia. It uses herbs to bring relief of symptoms, or to facilitate balance of the patient’s physiology to enhance healing.
Cupping is the term applied to a technique that uses small glass, bamboo or, more recently, electric silicone cups which are placed on the skin to create suction. Cupping serves many purposes including to help relieve pain, inflammation, muscle tension and to improve blood flow.
Moxibustion is the application of indirect heat using a herb called mugwort (Artemisia Vulgaris). This heat is believed to stimulate specific acupuncture points or channels to improve blood flow, relax muscles, improve energy and eliminate cold.
Qi Gong is a system of coordinated body-posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for the purposes of health and spirituality. Qi Gong is traditionally viewed by the Chinese and throughout Asia as a practice to cultivate and balance the flow of ‘qi’ (pronounced approximately as ‘chi’ or ‘chee’) and translated as ‘life energy’.
Dietary recommendations according to TCM principles
In TCM, diet is a key factor in maintaining health or recovering from illness.
TCM classifies food according to its energetic effects (such as warming, cooling or damp forming) rather than just its nutritional parts. Patients are always advised to eat seasonal, unprocessed foods where possible and include multiple colours and flavours covering a variety of healthy foods according to their individual constitution and ability to digest.
In TCM there are also specific guidelines on how food should be prepared and our habits around eating foods.
Each patient is unique; two people with the same western diagnosis may well receive different dietary recommendations.
Lifestyle recommendations according to TCM principles
In TCM, prevention is key. Making appropriate lifestyle choices means making good choices every day that enhance health and help prevent disease. Many health factors are in our individual control, through quality food choices, moderate exercise, restorative sleep, positive mindset, minimising toxins and stress management. Research demonstrates that many chronic diseases are largely caused by lifestyle choices and habits.
Each patient is unique; two people with the same western diagnosis may well receive different lifestyle recommendations.
How does acupuncture work?
The philosophy behind acupuncture is that energy ‘qi’ (pronounced approximately as “chi” or ‘chee’) and translated as ‘life energy’ circulate around the body in channels (called ‘meridians’). When this flow of energy is impaired, imbalance can occur in the form of pain and/or illness. Insertion of fine, sterile needles into specific points with appropriate combinations help regulate the flow of qi stimulating the body’s own healing response, helping to restore its natural balance.
Where are acupuncture points located?
Acupuncture points are located at precise positions along interconnected pathways (called ‘meridians’) that map the whole body, including the head, trunk and limbs. The most commonly used acupuncture points are on the lower arms and legs.
Why should I choose acupuncture?
Acupuncture can be used to treat a vast array of conditions from sporting injuries to digestive upsets or even the common cold. Anybody can benefit from a course of treatment, from new-borns to the elderly. Acupuncture has been known to successfully treat many acute & chronic illnesses that Western medicine has challenges treating effectively.
It can be used not only for the treatment of conditions or illnesses but also to help keep you well and prevent illness taking hold. Acupuncturists use subtle diagnostic techniques, such taking the pulse and observing the tongue, that have been developed and refined for thousands of years.
Most people report a general improvement in well-being such as digestion, sleep patterns, stress and energy levels as a result of treatment.
What can acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture can treat a wide range of physical and emotional conditions as the focus in on the individual rather than an isolated complaint.
The World Health Organisation published a review in 2003 endorsing the use of acupuncture for over 200 symptoms and diseases.
The evidence base for the use of acupuncture has grown substantially in recent years. For more information about current research visit the Evidence Based Acupuncture website.
Does acupuncture hurt?
The needles are so fine that most people don’t feel them being inserted. It is normal to feel a mild tingle or dull ache as your acupuncturist adjusts the needle. It is common to feel deeply relaxed during the treatment.
Are the needles safe?
Brenda uses pre-sterilized single use needles that are extremely fine.
Do you incorporate other TCM treatments?
Other TCM treatments may be offered or recommended, depending on your diagnosis, including:
- Chinese herbal medicine
- Qi gong
- Dietary recommendations according to TCM principles
- Lifestyle recommendations according to TCM principles
How should I prepare for my treatment?
It is ideal to wear loose-fitting and comfortable clothing. Eat a light snack or small meal an hour to 30 minutes before your treatment so you do not feel dizzy afterwards and refrain from coffee and alcohol. Bring information on your medical history, any drugs or nutritional supplements you are taking, and results of other diagnostic tests, x-rays, MRI or scans which can be interpreted in terms of TCM diagnosis.
What can I expect during an acupuncture treatment?
During the initial consultation, consideration is given to your presenting complaint as well as any underlying constitutional strengths and weaknesses. Questions can cover your current symptoms, medical history, as well as your sleeping patterns, appetite and digestion. Brenda will also take your pulse on both wrists, examine your tongue and may feel for areas of muscular tension or pain.
Based on this information, Brenda will then decide on the most appropriate course of treatment. Other TCM treatments may be offered or recommended, depending on your diagnosis.
Because channels of energy range across the whole body, the points used are not necessarily close to where you experience pain or discomfort. For example, if you suffer from neck and shoulder tension, needles might be inserted in your ankle and leg. The needles stay in place for between 30-45 minutes, during which time most individuals drift into a state of deep relaxation and may even go to sleep. Treatment lasts for approximately an hour.
How will I feel after my treatment?
You may feel relaxed and a little tired after treatment so ideally you should give yourself time to rest. It is also advisable not to drink alcohol or coffee for several hours after treatment. Acupuncture has very few side effects and any that do occur are usually mild and self-correcting.
How many treatments will I need?
Every case is unique and every person responds differently. During your initial treatment, a treatment plan will be provided according to what is presented. If, for instance, you are in pain, more than one treatment per week may be required initially to help control pain and produce effective and lasting healing. A course of weekly treatment is most common. Treatment is reassessed constantly, reducing in frequency as your body responds.
Can I use acupuncture as a preventative measure?
Absolutely. You don’t have to be ill to come for treatment. Acupuncture is an excellent preventative health care measure.
Is acupuncture safe during pregnancy?
Acupuncture is great during pregnancy. Please inform your practitioner if you are pregnant or if you are trying for a baby.
How much does treatment cost?
1 hour sessions:
All fees are inclusive of GST.
Cancellations without 24 hours’ notice will be charged at full fee. We attempt to keep costs as low as possible and as such a strict policy must be maintained.
Is acupuncture covered by ACC?
Yes. Brenda is an Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) service treatment provider. Once a claim has been accepted by ACC for your injury or accident, you may choose to have acupuncture. This can be raised by a physiotherapist, osteopath, chiropractor or your GP.
Please provide your ACC45 number on your first visit to the clinic.
Studies show that acupuncture is effective in reducing pain, inflammation and swelling. Early treatment of an injury may considerably lessen the time needed for recovery.