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East London Acupuncture & Massage Therapy :: Acupuncture
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East London Acupuncture & Massage Therapy


What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is part of an ancient medical system that originated in Asia and was developed and refined in China, as well as other countries such as Japan, Korea and Vietnam. This system of medicine (usually know as Chinese Medicine) offers a holistic approach to improving physical, mental and spiritual health, based on the simple principles of harmony with nature and the self. Over a period of at least 2000 years, this system has developed in to a sophisticated model for understanding and curing disease as well as maintaining health. As well as acupuncture, other treatment modalities include massage, dietary therapy, exercises and herbal medicine. Acupuncture itself developed from massage. People started to use implements to increase the strength and effect of massage techniques, and these implements were refined over time to the super-fine needles that we use today.

What does Acupuncture Treatment Involve?

Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine, sterile, single-use needles into acupuncture points to stimulate the body and initiate the healing process. It is not a painful process. Mild electrical sensations, feelings of movement or slight heaviness and ache are common, and indicate that the point is being activated. Needles are usually left in for 20-30 minutes to work. Acupuncture is often combined with massage, and the two work very well together.

Is Acupuncture an Effective Treatment?

People seek acupuncture for a wide variety of conditions. Acupuncture text books cover a similar range of conditions and illnesses to text books on Western Pathology. In a typical week at our clinic we may see people who are suffering from conditions such as back aches, menstrual problems / period pains etc, fertility problems, neck pains, tension, stress, IBS / bloating, migraines and headaches, depression and mental-emotional issues, for example. Please give us a call to discuss your case and how (and indeed if) acupuncture can help you.

Acupuncture also recognises many disharmonies that have no medical diagnosis. Acupuncture may produce feelings of positivity and increased well-being, and people often feel a deep sense of relaxation and peace after a treatment. Many people enjoy the effects of acupuncture for this reason.

The World Health Organization (WHO) considers acupuncture to have been proved effective in the treatment many conditions including knee pain, depression, morning sickness, rheumatoid arthritis, tennis elbow, and high blood pressure. For many other conditions a therapeutic effect of acupuncture have been shown. These conditions include asthma, insomnia, Bell’s palsy, premenstrual syndrome, digestive problems such as ulcerative colitis, stiff neck and schizophrenia. For a full list of the conditions follow this link: World Health Organisation & Acupuncture


How Acupuncture Works

From a Chinese Medical perspective, the dominant function of acupuncture is to regulate the circulation of Qi (vital energy) and Blood. The flow of Qi and Blood through the meridians is just like the flow of water through a stream. It can become blocked off by an obstruction. In the streams, this might be a fallen tree or a mud slide whereas in humans it might be caused by the influence of stress, diet or living conditions. When a stream is blocked, it floods above the blockage and below the blockage it dries up. If one goes to the point of blockage and clears it away, then the stream can resume its natural course. Similarly, if the Qi in the meridians becomes blocked, the body becomes distressed and this situation can give rise to different disorders.

The meridians are areas of the body that have a specific relationship with one another. For example muscles in the back of the neck, the back and the calves are all activated when we perform the single action of moving forward. Therefore, when there is a problem in one of these areas, the others will start to compensate. Eventually this compensation will overwork the muscles in these areas and they themselves will start to be problematic. This is a simple example of how disease passes along and affects the whole meridian. All these areas will need treatment if the problem is to be resolved.

Inserting a small needle into the blocked meridian helps to rectify the disturbance in the flow of Qi. Meridians have certain points which, if treated by needling, will have a significant impact on the flow pattern. If the qi circulation is corrected, the body can eliminate most symptoms and eventually with proper diet, exercise, and other habits overcome the disorders and illnesses.

In Western terms, several theories on the mechanisms of acupuncture have been suggested. The most commonly accepted is that acupuncture works by stimulating nerves to produce changes in the brain. Recent research using sophisticated neuroimaging techniques have shown that stimulation of acupuncture points deactivates specific areas of the brain that may be important in pain perception. Other research has shown that some acupuncture meridians are associated with bands of collagen that run through the body. Needling acupuncture points changes the way messages are sent along these bands. More recently, researchers in Seoul, Korea, have found hollow structures which follow closely the path of acupuncture channels as described by the original acupuncturists and oriental physicians, while another experiment suggested that injections at acupuncture points are passed along the body in lines that reflect acupuncture channels.

In reality, acupuncture could work through a combination of several mechanisms.