What is Acupuncture? How Does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture is a traditional practice in Chinese medicine that is based upon the belief that disease is caused by disrupting the essential life energy flows (qi) through your body. This imbalance can be repaired by applying pressure to specific points of your body which will restore the free flow of energy and usually involves the insertion of thin solid needles to improve health.
This technique is used to treat some physical and emotional conditions. It can also be used to alleviate the side-effects of other treatments such as chemotherapy induced nausea/vomiting and postoperative nausea/vomiting/pain. Acupuncture should not be confused with dry needling.
What Does Acupuncture Involve?
A typical session involves the insertion of very fine stainless steel needles at specific points in the body to realign your energy flows. These needles are only used once and are not reused. Results can occur very quickly although it often takes several sessions depending on the condition being treated and the individual.
At the Bing’s Natural Health clinic we use this acupuncture extensively in treatments. We also offer laser acupuncture for children and for our patients who are nervous or unsure about using needles.
Electroacupuncture is available in the clinic. Electroacupuncture uses continuous electric pulses (with or without needles) and is suitable to treat certain conditions.. Patients may feel a slight tingling sensation during the treatment.
Naturally all of our equipment and needles are properly handled in compliance with the strictest standards of hygiene and safety. The acupuncture needles are not reused and are disposed of after a single use.
What Goes On In The Treatment Room?
When you go to an Acupuncturist, you expect NEEDLES…
But the truth is, Traditional Chinese Medicine involves multiple modalities. Your condition and needs may also change from session to session. So our treatment plans for you change too…
When you arrive for your appointment, we will spend some time assessing your overall health and energy through conversation, health history and observation of pulse, breathing, temperature of extremities etc. We follow a careful process of diagnosis to discover which energy channels need to be stimulated and which need to be suppressed or re-directed. These questions can help the practitioner determine the specific modality they will use in the session. Often you will find us using a few modalities in a single treatment session.
Trust and relaxation are integral elements of a successful treatment. Sometimes clients show up for an acupuncture session, but then tense up at the thought of the needles being inserted. We may change our plans to use non-penetrative modalities. Below is a list of a few very common modalities that we use. You will see that Acupuncturists are not needle-ists only.
The overall goal of a treatment is to release excess energy where needed and stimulate energy where the body is lacking. This could involve using one or a number of modalities, dependent on what the client needs at the time.
Cupping: either sliding where the cup is attached and then moved along the affected area, or the cup can be placed and left in one spot (stationary) Cupping can be combined with an acupuncture session or it can also be used on its own.
Gua Sha: a smooth edged utensil, (or even a Chinese soup spoon) is used to gently scrape the skin. Gua sha is excellent when used on its own, as a quick therapeutic treatment, or as an adjunct for another therapy, to help boost the effectiveness of the treatment.
Moxa: the burning of a herb that is fantastic for warming the body and stimulating energy. At BnH we use several different types of moxa depending on the client’s needs and we usually combine it with acupuncture to create a really powerful effect. We also have smokeless moxa for clients sensitive to smoke.
Ear Candling: a cylinder placed into the ear and one end is lit, creating a gentle vacuum like effect. Clients will usually book in specifically for an ear candling session and it can be a helpful way to relax and benefit the body at the same time.
Acupuncture and hands-on work are performed frequently and are also some of the modalities that you may experience during a treatment session.
At Bing’s Natural Health we also use laser acupuncture, a non-invasive form of treatment. Your practitioner may use laser and needles in your session. Laser acupuncture can treat a larger area in less time, is great for treating painful and swollen areas too sensitive for needles, or on children who can find it difficult to remain still once the needles are inserted.
As practitioners we take the time to listen to your body for you because many people just aren’t good at doing so for themselves. One of our goals is to help our clients become more conscious of the messages their body is sending them and to act on the messages they receive so that problems can be addressed before they become too entrenched and advanced.
Acupuncture is generally considered to be safe in the hands of a well-trained practitioner but occasionally (as with all health treatments) may be associated with possible adverse reactions in individual cases.
What Conditions Does Acupuncture Treat?
Based on current scientific evidence, Chinese medicine treatment may be able to assist with:
- Management of pain, stress and fatigue related to some autoimmune disorders, in consultation with other treating health practitioners
- Management of pain, fatigue and nausea related to many chronic diseases
- Management of vomiting or nausea arising from chemotherapy
- Pain relief and management
- Chronic pain related to depression by managing the underlying chronic pain
Are you pregnant? Chinese medicine treatment may be able to help pregnant women with:
- Pregnancy related musculoskeletal pains
- Nausea and vomiting
Conditions with strong evidence supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture
The items below have reviews with consistent statistically significant positive effects and where authors have recommended the intervention. The quality of evidence is rated as moderate or high quality. (updated 28 Nov)
– Allergic rhinitis (perennial & seasonal)
– Knee osteoarthritis
– Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (with anti-emetics)
– Migraine prophylaxis
– Chronic low back pain
– Postoperative nausea & vomiting
– Headache (tension-type and chronic)
– Postoperative pain
Many health practitioners may recommend acupuncture as an adjunct treatment that may assist with IVF treatment. There is continuing research about how acupuncture can assist with the effectiveness of IVF treatment and you should consult with your treating practitioner/s about how acupuncture may be able to help you.
We recommend that you make an appointment to talk with one of our practitioners to discuss how we can help you.