Acupuncture :: The Whole Story
Acupuncture and oriental medicine represent a whole approach to both the management of disease and the maintenance of health. They focus as much on the prevention of illness as on the treatment of illness.
When we are healthy, ample Qi and blood flow through the body along channels, sometimes called meridians, and vessels connecting the surface of the body with the internal organs. If the flow of Qi and blood is blocked in any way or there is a lack of Qi or blood, then the body will have difficulty remaining in balance, hence the development of pain and ill heath. We also focus on the balance of heat and cold, dry and damp, and the interaction between the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal and water) in your body, mind and spirit.
Acupuncture points are specific sites on a meridian/channel where the flow of Qi can be influenced and stimulated. By inserting fine needles into the body’s channels/meridians, an acupuncturist can stimulate the body’s own healing response which in turn helps to restore its natural balance. We also have ‘needle-free’ options available like acupressure, earseeds, tuning forks and we can also use moxibustion for stimulation if this is preferred.
An Acupuncture treatment involves a four step process:
- Detailed Case History
- Physical Assessment
- Home Care.
1. Detailed Case History
Be prepared for a detailed case history to ensure that adequate information is gathered regarding your case. Some of this history you will have a chance to complete before your initial booking. This level of detail is to ensure that your practitioner can provide quality care and attention to your health. Your practitioner will look carefully for signs of health and dysfunction, paying particular attention not only to the presenting signs and symptoms, but also to the medical history, general constitution, and the pulse and tongue.
2. Physical Assessment
Gathering information through the “4 observations” includes questioning, looking, listening, and palpating. Your practitioner will also examine your the tongue and pulse. This involves feeling the pulse on both wrists and looking at the tongue. Where necessary, your practitioner will need to assess Range of Motion and carry out muscle testing if this is applicable to your treatment as well as a postural assessment. A hands-on approach may also be used. This would include palpating affected and related areas of the body.
During your treatment your practitioner will talk you through each therapy. The treatment will consist of any of the following:
A heat treatment that involves warming specific sites on the body by burning herbs. This generates a pleasant, mild sensation of the heat spreading through the area being treated. The intention is to stimulate circulation through the points and induce a smoother flow of blood and Qi.
An ancient Chinese practice in which a glass cup is applied to the skin and the pressure in the cup is reduced (by using a change in heat or by sucking out air), so that the skin and superficial muscle layer is drawn into and held in the cup.
This technique helps to relieve stagnation in areas of the body where the cup is applied. It can also help to pull coldness lodged in the deeper levels up to the surface where it can be released.
Nutrition and Herbal Medicines
Advice regarding suitable dietary intake is given while ensuring that it is realistic and appropriate.
Suggestions for relevant stretches and related exercises are given to match your treatment.
A metal two-pronged fork that resonates at a specific constant frequency when set vibrating by striking it against a surface or with an object. The fork is then placed gently onto the skin. The sound vibration is relaxing and energizing. It can enhance breathing, relieve body tension, and assist in pain management. The sound waves created by the tuning fork work like kinetic energy to move disharmony and tension from the body while restoring a sense of well-being. Tuning forks also offer an alternative form of treatment for people who do not want to be treated with needles.
Ear seeds are tiny metal spheres or seeds that may be placed in points in or on the ear and retained for several days. These are pressed by the patient to stimulate the points between visits to the practitioner.
Essences work directly on the electrical network within and surrounding the body to correct imbalances. Flower essence therapy stems from the work of Dr. Edward Bach, a physician and homeopath who believed that physical illness is preceded by imbalances of thought and emotion’ – Flower Essences NZ Inc. These may be given in small bottles to be taken daily.
4. Home Care
Treatment is a team effort, we work together for the desired result. Where relevant, you will be given homecare advice. This may include nutrition recommendations, exercises and lifestyle recommendations.