For many of us, acupuncture is a bit mysterious.
Aside from its exotic provenance (Ancient China) and alien concept of Qi (when compared to modern Western concepts), we can wonder: how does sticking needles into someone’s skin can help?
Putting aside the debate between “acupuncture heals everything” and “acupuncture is but a placebo” I will lay out my thoughts about when acupuncture is best used.
I currently(*) see five main domains of application:
– Balancing the energy in the body.
This pertains to the domain of internal disorders. (migraines, chronic illness, low energy, IBS, fibromyalgia, thyroid conditions, pre-menstrual symptoms, fertility issues…)
– Alleviating pain.
Acupuncture can be sought after a physiscal injury (sprained ankle, dislocated knee, tendon injury) and also for chronic physical pain (arthritis, back tensions, joints and arm problems).
– Help fight external pathogens.
Sickness can either come from inside of the body (deficient organ, stomach ulcer, cf above…) or from outside of the body (virus, bacteria…). In the latter instance, acupuncture treatment can reinforce the natural defence of the body and help dissipate the symptoms.
– Help with mental-related issues.
Essential to health in Chinese Medicine, the mind is an integrative part that must be in balance with the body to lead a healthy life. Disorders of the mind encompass anxiety, insomnia, depression, PTSD, manic behaviour, dependency, emotional disorders…
Some symptoms such as anger, irritability and fear comes from dysfunction of an organ (liver in this instance) and fall under the first domain of application.
– Boosting the body.
All acupuncture treatment strengthen the immune body system (which is why it is not advised for persons who have undergone a form of transplant) and reinforce the natural defences of the body.
Further from internal functions boost, better mechanical performance can also be reached using acupuncture points for joints, muscles and tendons.
With all these applications, acupuncture is a great complementary treatment in case of serious injury and illness.
In the case of a bone fracture, acupuncture treatment can speed up the bone regrowth (stimulation of parathyroid gland combined with local stimulation of bone tissues)and alleviate the pain.
Acupuncture is also famous for alleviating secondary effect for patients under heavy medication such as chemotherapy.Many acupuncturists are either employed by cancer care clinics or are volunteering to help improve the lives of the people under such a taxing treatment.
Acupuncturists also intervene in care homes for the elderly as acupuncture dissipates the pain, revitalise the organs and can help with several old age diseases (parkinson, dementia, memory loss…).
So when should you seek acupuncture treatment?
Acupuncture treatment is available to anyone who does not require A&E intervention (if you need stitches, have a broken bone, are vomiting or coughing blood or suffer from appendicitis go to the hospital!). Acupuncture can help you recover once you are stabilised.
Aside from the full-blown symptoms described above, acupuncture also helps when you “do not feel that well” and drugs do not improve your situation or your GP “cannot see anything wrong with you**”.
In short, acupuncture sessions are a very good way or re-aligning your whole being and getting more out of life by eliminating the little (or big) things that get in the way.It is also time you dedicate to yourself and a great opportunity to relax or even meditate at the same time!
If you feel curious about it, please get in touch and I would be happy to help!
(*NB, please note this article is written very early in my journey towards becoming a fully-fledged Chinese Medicine practicioner and might be subject to change as I evolve).
(** I believe this is more a fault of the current Western Healthcare system (commission when prescribing drugs) rather than a lack of training from the GP),