What Is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of healing known to man. Although this ancient practice originated in China nearly five thousand years ago, it is still practiced today due to its effectiveness, and the fact that the laws and principles on which it is based still apply to every human being.
How does acupuncture work?
In Chinese medicine, a vital force called Chi energy is recognised in the body – this energy controls the working of every organ and bodily system. In order for our bodies to function correctly, the energy needs to flow freely, at the right strength and quality. When illness occurs, the flow of vital energy is impaired.
Acupuncture works by directly affecting the energy at special points along its pathway (called meridians). By gently inserting needles into these acupuncture points, energy can be drawn to a deficient organ, disperse an excess, remove a blockage etc., based on the individual needs of the patient. As the energy’s balance and harmony is restored, the patient’s symptoms (whether physical, mental, emotional or spiritual) naturally disappear.
Is acupuncture safe?
When performed by a qualified and fully accredited practitioner, acupuncture is a very safe form of therapy. Licensed acupuncturists are trained and certified in clean needling techniques, which must follow strict safety guidelines.
Are acupuncture needles sterile?
All acupuncture needles are sterile, single-use medical devices. After each use, the needles are disposed of in a medical waste container. The safety guidelines that must be adhered to by licensed acupuncturists stipulate the use of sterile, disposable needles to minimise the risk of infection.
Will the needles hurt?
As the needles are about the width of a hair, insertion is often hardly felt. You may notice a slight pin prick, occasional sharpness or a dull ache, but these sensations are temporary and much less painful than a standard medical injection.
As acupuncturists move chi, you may feel a dull ache or spreading sensation when it moves. During the treatment, needles may be left in for some time (upwards of an hour) and some may be inserted, turned and removed. If needed, there will be time for you to rest after your treatment.
I’m scared of needles – can I still get acupuncture?
There’s no need to avoid acupuncture just because you’re afraid of needles! There are alternative acupuncture therapies available, including non-needle treatment options such as moxibustion, cupping, and gua-sha (scraping technique). If you’re concerned about the needling aspect of acupuncture, talk to Natasha first and she can discuss the best approach for you. You can also take a look at the needles and have a demo beforehand, if preferred.
What kind of acupuncture needles are used?
The most common acupuncture needle used today is a metal filiform (thread-like) needle, made from stainless steel. Occasionally, silver or gold needles are used. Acupuncture needles come in different gauges (diameters) and lengths, designed to be inserted into different areas of the body.
Do acupuncturists in Australia need to be registered or licensed?
Yes, all acupuncturists, along with any practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine, must be licensed by the Australian Health Practitioners Agency (AHPRA). AHPRA sets standards and policies that all acupuncturists must meet in order to practice Chinese Medicine.
Can acupuncture treatment help with non-physical problems?
Absolutely! Classical acupuncture views body, mind and spirit as whole, so all physical disorders will cause an imbalance in the mental and spiritual levels of a person. This might present as depression, anxiety, anger, sadness or other non-physical symptoms. Similarly, mental conditions such as stress and emotional conflict will have an effect on the physical body, such as insomnia, lack of appetite, fatigue, menstrual irregularities, migraines, lower immune defences, aches and pains etc. This is why classical acupuncture treatments are designed to restore harmony of body, mind and spirit, by treating the physical and non-physical aspects together.
Can I have acupuncture along with other medication or medical treatments?
Yes, acupuncture can be used in conjunction with other medication or medical treatments. It’s important you let Natasha know what medication you are taking, so she can consider this when planning your treatment. As you progress with your acupuncture, you may find your need for certain drugs decreases and you might be able to reduce or discontinue your medication. It’s essential you discuss this with your prescribing doctor.
What is Five Element Acupuncture?
Classical Five Element Acupuncture is an ancient form of acupuncture that seeks the emotional or spirit level cause for distress. Five Element Acupuncture aims at healing a person at the levels of mind, body and spirit. See ‘How does acupuncture work?’ for more information on acupuncture as a practice.
What is the fundamental difference between Traditional Chinese Medicine and Five Element Acupuncture?
A Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner will tend to focus on physical symptoms and the treatment/elimination of these symptoms. A Five Element practitioner meanwhile will be more focused on the emotional and spiritual elements of the imbalance, in order to treat the root cause of the disharmony. Underlying all Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners is the insight that the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of a person are interconnected and exist within a larger web that includes the entire cosmos – this is what makes Chinese Medicine so unique and powerful.
What does the ‘constitutional element’ mean in Five Element Acupuncture?
Five Element Acupuncture considers that there is one main cause behind the majority of a patient’s presenting symptoms. This is thought to be due to a constitutional weakness, developed through birth or early childhood, that impedes the flow of energy. This weakened element is known as the patient’s constitutional element.
Can Five Element Acupuncture assist with anxiety?
It certainly can. Acupuncture is a powerful treatment for conditions such as anxiety and depression, at all different degrees. Interestingly, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, anxiety is not viewed simply as a brain dysfunction, but as an inner organ dysfunction.