Acupuncture is an ancient system of healing that views health as the balance within an individual’s healing energy, or ch’i. Acupuncturists help ch’i move along pathways, known as meridians, that connect various organs and systems within the body. The uninterrupted and balanced flow of energy along these meridians contributes to one’s overall health. However, blockages and imbalances result in pain and illness. The acupuncturist uses specific acupuncture points along the meridians to redirect and reposition the flow of energy in an effort to return balance and health to the individual.
In addition to taking the patient’s pulse, the practitioner uses four basic techniques for determining an individual’s constitution and imbalances; asking, seeing, hearing and feeling. These are used to evaluate and determine the personal constitution of the individual as it is represented on one of the elements.
Asking: A full history of the patient is given by the patient: recent or past stresses, previous illnesses or injuries and relationships within the family circle.
Listening to the patient’s voice and how they express themselves: speaking fluently or haltingly, with a stammer or fear.
Seeing the patient. The practitioner looks for various colors in the patient’s face, observes how the patient moves, stands, expressions on the face, texture of the hair and condition of the skin and nails.
Feeling the patient. Pressing into the pressure points and abdomen of the patient helps determine the patient’s state. The most important diagnostic procedure is the taking of the pulses. The practitioner takes twelve different pulses, six on each wrist at two levels. It is possible, only form reading the pulses, to tell almost everything about a patient’s state of health.
- The first treatment may take from two to four hours, including a comprehensive medical history and a Chinese-style physical.
- The average length of time for an existing problem is ten treatments. The frequency of those treatments depends on the patient and the severity of the illness, how long the patient has had the condition or illness and how their personal lifestyle can be adjusted.
- Following the initial treatments, maintenance therapy is recommended five times per year.
- Very fine stainless steel needles of various sizes are used, and disposable needles are available, if requested
- Moxa – dried leaves of the common mugwort plant – is sometimes used in addition to or to replace the needle therapy for small children or those with an aversion to needles. Small, rolled-up balls of moxa are placed on the end of the acupuncture needles and lit, gently heating and increasing the toning effect of the treatment. Small cones are placed directly on the skin and removed before any discomfort is felt. Moxa sticks are also used.
- Many acupuncturists will offer a free consultation to determine if a patient is a candidate for the procedure. This includes a brief medical history and taking of the pulses.
- The ultimate goal of acupuncture is to assist the individual in recognizing when their lifestyle is out of balance and make the appropriate adjustments.
- Bone, muscle and joint disorders: bursitis, tendonitis, arthritis, sports injuries, back pain, sciatica
- Cardiovascular disorders: high or low blood pressure, angina, stroke rehabilitation
- Disorders of the head area: migraines, facial paralysis, headache, trigeminal neuralgia, vertigo
- Gastrointestinal disorders: constipation, diarrhea, gastritis, duodenal and gastric ulcers, vomiting
- Gynecological and Obstetrics problems: discomfort in pregnancy, morning sickness, thrush candidiasis, moniliasis), menstrual pain
- Immune System Disorders: lupus, multiple sclerosis
- Mental/emotional Disorders: addictions, insomnia, hysteria, phobias
- Respiratory disorders: asthma, bronchitis, acute and chronic cough
- Sexual problems: frigidity, impotence, spermatorrhoea, sterility
- Skin disorders: eczema, psoriasis
- Stress-related illness: weight loss and gain, duodenal ulcer