Acupuncture is the most well known aspect of Chinese Medicine and may be used alone or in conjunction with herbal medicine, moxibustion (the heating of specific acupuncture points using the herb Artemisia), or tui na (Chinese massage). It is likely that the acupuncture practitioner will also offer dietary and lifestyle advice or suggest a course of exercise.
Each of the organs of the body has its own associated channel or pathway of energy. These are often referred to as meridians. Very fine needles are inserted into points along the meridians with the aim of bringing the body to a point of balance and harmony. Every aspect of the patient’s life is considered by the practitioner before the points are selected – sometimes it may be impossible to change someone’s life circumstance, but by using Acupuncture the person may be strengthened so that they are more easily able to deal with what life brings their way.
A visit to an Acupuncturist will usually take up to an hour, with the needles being left in place for 20-25 minutes of that time. Very often people go into a state of deep relaxation whilst the needles are in place and many drift off into a brief but sound sleep. Acupuncture is widely known for its effectiveness in treating musculo-skeletal injuries but has traditionally been used extensively in the treatment of respiratory, digestive, gynaecological and many other chronic conditions.
Refers to the warming or heating of individual acupuncture points or regions of the body by burning the herb Artemisia close to or actually on the inserted needle. The heat is able to penetrate deeply into the muscles and essentially strengthens the actions of the needles. By drawing more Qi and Blood into the area, Moxa can greatly aid the healing process. It is the burning of Moxa which gives many acupuncture clinics their characteristic aroma!
The application of vacuum cups to the skin most commonly used on the back to increase the flow of Qi and Blood to the area. Cups frequently will leave circular bruises on the skin but these will not be painful and will clear after a few days.
A particular style of massage used by traditional practitioners. With or without oil, the practitioner will massage the different areas of the body using a variety of techniques, frequently following the meridians or on specific acupuncture points.
The practitioner will scrape the surface of the skin using a smooth blunt edged tool, causing localised redness. Frequently used in the treatment of children but also for adults particularly to relieve the symptoms of the common cold.
Diet and Lifestyle
The practitioner of Chinese Medicine looks at the quality of foods quite differently than a Western dietician. The energy of the food is considered rather than whether it contains protein, carbohydrate or fat. Some foods are considered to be warming therefore are more appropriate for cold conditions or to eat in the cooler months. Cooling foods are better eaten in summer or to reduce symptoms of heat in the body. Appropriate foods whichwould assist the healing process may be suggested whilst at the same time advice may be given as to which foods may be exacerbating the problem.
Reflexology is the application of appropriate pressure to specific points and areas on the feet. Reflexologists believe that these areas and reflex points correspond to different body organs and systems, and that pressing them has a beneficial effect on the organs and person's general health.