What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice in which needles are inserted into different places in your body. The needles are very thin and don’t go in very deep and so you may feel nothing at all, or just a tingle. The aim is to stimulate the nerves under your skin and in your muscles.
Traditional acupuncture is based on the belief that an energy, or ‘life force’ known as Qi, flows through the body in channels called meridians. Practitioners of traditional acupuncture believe that when Qi doesn’t flow freely through the body, it can cause illness. Through acupuncture and various other techniques, some of which are listed below, they believe you can restore the flow of Qi, and so restore health.
An acupuncturist may use other techniques, including:
- Cupping – cups create a suction designed to bring blood to the acupuncture point
- Chinese herbs – either mixed by the acupuncturist or in tablet or granulated form
- Laser – can be used instead of the needles to activate acupuncture points
- TCM remedial massage – massage techniques applied to specific acupuncture points or meridians
- Moxibustion – burning herbs are held over or applied to acupuncture points
The Benefits of Acupuncture
Acupuncture points stimulate the central nervous system which, in turn, releases chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. It is believed that these biochemical changes may stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities and thereby promote both physical and emotional well-being.
During times of prolonged stress, or following the trauma of a bereavement, acupuncture can help with typical symptoms such as compromised immunity, insomnia and reduced appetite.
Since with acupuncture the mind, body, spirit and emotions are all viewed as a whole, by treating areas of the body affected by trauma, acupuncture can help to release and heal the emotional pain that may be held in the body.