Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are a way of treating the individual based on ancient principles dating back over 2000 years. Founded on the idea that the body's vital energy, or Qi, is what governs our health and that when the Qi is out of balance the body, mind or spirit become affected, acupuncture aims to restore balance to the Qi and therefore improve our health. To do this, very fine needles are inserted into specific points on the body that form a complicated network of energy channels or meridians, which when used correctly cause the body, mind or spirit to react and the patient to feel better.
Illness is situated in the context of a person's life and biography. - Ted Kaptchuk
The traditional theory of how actupuncture works is based entirely on the ancient Chinese concept of the world and everything in it amounting to Yin and Yang energy. The body is seen as a microcosm of the world and therefore that which we see in the world can be found in our body. The energy of the world is contained within our body, and within our body it is found in energy pathways. When these pathways become blocked, disease or injury have occurred and the energy needs to be reset. This is accomplished with the insertion of needles, or the use of adjunctive therapies such as cupping, moxibustion and guasha. By using these methods the energy can be built up if there is too little, removed if it has become too much, or redirected if it has become unruly, thus restoring the energetic balance of the body to how it should be.
Current modern understandings are starting to suggest that acupuncture is working with the neurological system and within the fascia (a fine layer of tissue between the skin and the muscle) and that that traditional language used in the ancient texts are in fact describing these aspects of the body.
The terminology used to describe Chinese Medicine is hard to grasp and can be in conflict with our understanding from a conventional point of view, but whilst the language is often different, the subject is the same.
Acupuncture can be used to treat a wide range of conditions and their symptoms. In the classical texts it is used to treat every part of the body and every illness or disease. Acupuncture is not a one size fits all type of treatment and each patient will receive a treatment tailored to them based on a detailed history that includes not just the body but also your childhood, diet and lifestyle.
Many patients come to Victoria with musculo-skeletal problems such as back pain, shoulder issues and tendonitis, and many patients come with the sense of not feeling right in themselves. Everyone knows what it feels like to be tired, to not sleep well, to have problems with their digestion, or pain which is dulled by painkillers but never truly goes away. Acupuncture enables these patients to get back to feeling good again and to get rid of the niggling health issues that build up through our lives.
Acupuncture is recommended by the World Health Organization for many conditions, including but not limited to: stroke, joint and muscle pain, asthma, period pain, headaches, pregnancy symptoms, induction and labour pain, nausea and vomiting, arthritis, cancer pain, infertility, fibromyalgia and insomnia. For the full list click here: PDF download.
For more information about what acupuncture can be used for and surrounding research, follow this link to the British Acupuncture Council website.
Moxibustion (Moxa) is one part of Chinese Medicine and involves using the heat from burning the herb to supplement treatment with needles.
Cupping is the use of suction cups over acupuncture points or on stiff or sore parts of the body to move blood and fluids in the area, releasing stagnation and tension or nourishing the area where blood and fluids are lacking. Cupping can leave bruise like marks on the skin, which are not painful but can look... interesting. Cups will only be used with your permission.
Guasha is a scraping technique that, similarly to cupping, releases stagnation in an area where blood and fluids are stuck. Using a guasha tool, a smooth fine edge is pulled across the skin in areas where there is pain. This tends to produce 'sha' or red or purple dots that bring the stagnant toxins and energy to the surface, providing relief to the patient. Again, these marks can be unsightly and surprising to those who haven't seen them before and treatment will only be performed if you want it.
There must be something to Acupuncture - you never see any sick porcupines. - Bob Goddard