Acupuncture - Zhen Jiu (needling and Moxibustion), has been used as a therapy for at least 4,000 years for both the treatment of disease and health maintenance.
It involves the insertion of extremely fine, sterile needles into the skin at specific points on the body. These points are doorways to an interconnecting web of channels that run through our bodies, connecting the exterior to the interior, the upper to the lower, and the back to the front. Qi, which can be translated as ‘energy’, ‘vitality’, ‘breath’, or ‘electromagnetic force’, runs through this channel system just like our blood flows through our blood vessels.
In Oriental Medicine, the understanding is that when Qi is abundant and flowing freely we will be healthy and vital. By contrast, when Qi is blocked or depleted, disease and pain can occur. The aim of an acupuncture treatment is therefore to restore and maintain the smooth, unimpeded flow of Qi and to stimulate the body’s own self-healing mechanisms.
Many people are now aware of the benefits of acupuncture. Research has shown its effectiveness for conditions such as osteoarthritis, sciatica, migraine and nausea, as well as for fertility support. Acupuncture is helpful throughout pregnancy, for morning sickness, breech presentation, labour induction and for helping to create a state of relaxation.
What does acupuncture feel like?
Acupuncture needles are inserted either for a second or two, or retained for a period of time (twenty minutes is the average duration). Acupuncture needles are very fine. When they are inserted, patients often describe a feeling of tingling or a dull ache. This sensation usually passes after a couple of minutes and you are left with a generally heavy relaxed feeling in your body. Patients often fall asleep during treatment.
Treatment may also include the use of a smouldering herb called moxa, cupping, gua sha, infrared heat lamps, electro-stimulation.
AcuGong is the integration of the therapeutic qualities of sound healing and acupuncture.
After needling the appropriate points and retaining those needles, we then introduce the sound healing instruments, particularly the gong, tuning forks and voice.
The needles act as antennae/receivers for the sound waves that wash over the body, moving through the needles and into the channels. This combination of sound healing and acupuncture rebalances the physical, emotional and spiritual bodies, releases physical tension and energetic blockage and re-establishes a sense of harmony.
The gong creates altered states of consciousness and deep relaxation, which allow acupuncture treatment to be more easily received.
Research has shown that acupuncture stimulates nerve fibres that travel to the spinal cord, brain stem as well as to the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. Stimulation of these centres leads to the release of various neurotransmitters and hormones such as endorphins. These affect the parts of the central nervous system related to sensation and involuntary body functions such as immune reactions and the processes that regulate blood pressure, blood circulation and body temperature.
‘Acupuncture is one of the safest medical treatments, both conventional and complementary, on offer in the UK’ – British Acupuncture Council.
For more information and the latest research, please go to the British Acupuncture Council website at www.acupuncture.org.uk