Acupuncture has been used in the Far East to restore, promote and maintain good health for over 2,500 years. The first needles were made from stone, and then later from bronze, gold and silver. The first medical text of acupuncture was ‘The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine’, which dates from around 300 BC. Acupuncture is an integral part of the rapid growth of complementary therapy in the UK. According to the Word Health Organisation, acupuncture has been proven to be effective in relieving postoperative pain, nausea during pregnancy, nausea and vomiting resulting from chemotherapy, and dental pain with extremely low side effects. It can also alleviate anxiety, panic disorders and insomnia.
How it works
According to traditional Chinese philosophy, our health is dependent on the body's motivating energy – known as qi - moving in a smooth and balanced way through a series of meridians (channels) beneath the skin. The flow of qi can be disturbed by many factors, physical, mental and emotional: anxiety, stress, anger, fear or grief, poor nutrition, weather conditions, hereditary factors, infections, poisons and trauma. By inserting fine needles in points along the channels, an acupuncturist can stimulate the body's own healing response and help to restore its natural balance.
Tongue and pulse
To discover how the energies are flowing in your body, the acupuncturist will feel your pulses on both wrists, noting their quality, rhythm and strength. The structure, colour and coating of your tongue also provide a guide to your physical health. The aim is to discover which energy channels need adjusting for your specific complaint to improve and which require treatment to boost your overall energy and vitality.
How long does it takes
This varies between patients. Most people have a course of treatment and usually notice changes after four to six sessions. Your acupuncturist will review your progress with you, and carefully monitor your treatment to ensure that it matches your needs.
What to expect
Your first consultation takes longer than subsequent sessions. This is because the acupuncturist needs to assess your general state of health in order to identify the underlying patterns of disharmony and give you the most effective treatment. You will be asked about your current symptoms and what treatment you have received so far, your medical history and that of your close family, your diet, digestive system, sleeping patterns and emotional state. Once enough information has been gathered to determine the likely causes of your problems, the acupuncturist can select the most appropriate treatment.
What does it feel like?
Acupuncture needles bear little resemblance to the needles used in injections and blood tests. They are much finer and solid, not hollow. When a needle is inserted, the sensation is often described as a tingling or dull ache. Needles are inserted and left in place for thirty minutes or more, depending on the effect required. During treatment, patients commonly experience heaviness in the limbs or a pleasant feeling of relaxation. The benefits of acupuncture frequently include more than just relief from a particular condition. Many people find that it can also lead to increased energy levels, as well as better appetite and sleep, and an enhanced sense of overall wellbeing.
One of the most well known conditions acupuncture can treat is stress. In Chinese medicine theory, stress occurs when qi or blood doesn’t move properly causing heat. Generally acupuncture works by inserting fine needles on specific points along a blocked meridian. These points are known as acupoints. By stimulating the qi in these specific acupoints, it is possible to unblock stagnate qi held in the meridian. This allows qi to move freely, uninhibited and relieves stress.
Diet can play an important factor in causing stress. For example, eating too much alcohol at those business meetings or fast food when you’re on the go can cause damp heat, which affects the flow of qi and blood causing heat and stress.
Emotions play a great role in dis-ease formation and stress. Feeling depressed, irritable, under pressure or moody stagnates the qi causing blockages, heat and stress. After a prolonged period, an individual’s character will be affected by the constant stress experienced and will be moulded into a lesser representation of them. In such cases, a person’s character is not their true selves but a manifestation of their internal suffering. Acupuncture works not only on the stress itself, but also the internal emotional disharmony that’s being experienced and helps to restore the person as a whole, both mind, body and spirit.
As you can see, acupuncture is more than just needles and is one part of a whole system of traditional healthcare dating back thousands of years that encompasses a wealth of knowledge.
Acupuncture in Reading
Attilio graduated from Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine with a Bachelor of Medicine and from Middlesex University with a BSc (Hons) in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). He practices at busy clinics in Wokingham and Reading, Berkshire. For more information, please visit his website at www.attiliodalberto.com.
For more information, ring 0118 979 3109