Treatment is the process of re-establishing the energy balance. This is done in two ways. One is the insertion of fine, stainless steel needles into acupuncture points, either stimulating or sedating the energy of a specific pathway. The other is the application of warmth to the acupuncture point. These methods are often used in combination. As the balance improves, health improves.
What can acupuncture help?
Many people come to acupuncture for help with a specific symptom or condition. For example:
- anxiety states
- back pain
- circulatory problems
- facial paralysis
- high blood pressure
- indeterminate aches and pains
- menstrual problems
- skin conditions or ulcers
Extensive practice and Chinese research has shown acupuncture’s effectiveness in helping these and many other conditions. The effect of good acupuncture, however, is to do more than simply cure the symptom. Acupuncture directed at restoring the overall energy balance will deal with the condition and also help the patient feel better in a general way. Hence the frequent comment, “I’m feeling better in myself”, which refers to such things as increased energy and vitality, greater enjoyment of life, greater confidence, better sleep or more normal appetite.
This approach, where the whole person as well as the symptom is taken into consideration, is referred to as Traditional Acupuncture. It is contrasted with the symptomatic approach which uses treatment formulae for specific conditions and where no heed is paid to the over-all energy balance. Diagnosing and treating the person rather than the disease, is particularly appropriate in two cases.
There are some people who feel quite unwell in themselves but do not have a sufficiently seriously or “physical” complaint to present themselves as “sick”. Traditional Acupuncture can diagnose the imbalance and restore well being without the person having a named condition.
Many patients also come to an acupuncturist for preventive treatment. An acupuncturist can often detect and treat an energy imbalance before the patient is aware of any symptoms. The aim is to maintain health rather then overcoming a specific condition.
What happens when I come for a treatment?
For your initial visit the physician allows enough time to gather information on:
- Your symptoms
- The history and treatment to date
- Your medical and family history
- The behaviour of your various systems (For example, how you sleep)
- Whether your digestion is good
- Your physical condition (For example, distribution of body heat or the condition of your skin)
Generally you will come weekly to begin with and then, as you improve, less frequently. The speed of improvement varies more according to the person rather than the label of the complaint. Some people are much improved after their first visit; others require more extensive treatment.
Does it hurt?
Some people would like to try acupuncture, but may not because they assume it will be painful. The needles we use are solid and much finer than those used for injections or withdrawing blood. In most cases only a slight prick is felt when the needle goes through the skin. When the needle reaches the acupuncture point there is another sensation often described as a dull ache. The sensation felt is generally acceptable and lasts only 1 or 2 seconds.
What about my allopathic physician?
If you have been seeing your doctor, you may want to tell him or her that you are coming for acupuncture. Acupuncturists prefer that you do. For example, if you are on medication (other than drugs that cannot be replaced), then we would hope to reduce or eliminate your drug intake and your doctor may need to be involved in any change of medication.
What about needle sterilization?
All acupuncture physicians are bound by a Code of Practice and all needles are disposable. These standards were formulated with the guidance of the Department of Health’s Public Laboratory Service and provide complete safety against all forms of infectious diseases.