Acupuncture is a traditional healing therapy in which fine needles are inserted into specific points on the body to alleviate various symptoms or conditions.
Most people’s experience of needles is of those used in injections and blood tests. Acupuncture needles bear little resemblance to these. They are much finer, and are solid rather than hollow. This makes acupuncture much less painful than may have been experienced during an injection.
Needles are then left in place for around twenty minutes, during and after which many report a feeling of relaxation and well-being. Most people feel nothing more than a dull ache or tingling sensation when the needles are inserted.
Moxibustion, is the treatment of disease by applying gentle heat to acupuncture points. Smouldering herbs are held near the needle to create a warm sensation. Acupuncture and moxibustion are considered complimentary forms of treatment and are commonly used together. Moxibustion is particularly effective for ailments such as bronchial asthma, bronchitis, certain types of paralysis, and arthritic disorders.
Cupping is another type of treatment. This is a method of stimulating acupuncture points by applying suction using a metal, wooden or glass cup, creating a partial vacuum. This technique stimulates the site by increasing blood circulation. Cupping is used for low backache, sprains, soft-tissue injuries, and helps to relieve fluid from the lungs in chronic bronchitis.
How does it work?
According to traditional Chinese philosophy, health is dependent on the body’s motivating energy (known as Qi). Qi governs all essential life activities, spiritual, emotional and mental, as well as physical.
If the flow of Qi is insufficient, unbalanced or interrupted, illness may occur.
This flow can be disturbed by a number of conditions; these might include emotional factors, physical causes, such as poor posture or trauma, dietary problems, infectious disease, or climate and weather conditions. Qi travels throughout the body along “meridians”, or channels. Needles are inserted into points on these channels in order to correct the flow of Qi and promote the body’s own healing response.
After a diagnosis has been made, the acupuncturist chooses points dictated by the location of the disease, the channels involved in the complaint, and according to individual properties of certain points. Recent research suggests that acupuncture may stimulate the release of pain- relieving hormones/chemicals. It may also affect the functioning of internal organs via the nervous system.
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