Acupuncture is part of an integrated system of primary health care, known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that has an uninterrupted history of development dating back thousands of years in China and other parts of East Asia.
The origins of acupuncture in China can be traced back at least two thousand years, making it one of the oldest and most long-standing health care systems in the world.
Today, acupuncture is an effective, natural and increasingly popular form of health care that is being used by people from a wide range of cultural and social backgrounds.
Acupuncture takes a wholistic approach to understanding normal function and disease processes and focuses as much on the prevention of illness as on the treatment.
When healthy, an abundant supply of qi (pronounced chee) or “life energy” flows through the body’s meridians (a network of invisible channels through the body). If the flow of qi in the meridians becomes blocked or there is an inadequate supply of qi, then the body fails to maintain harmony, balance and order, and disease or illness follows. This can result from stress, overwork, poor diet, disease pathogens, weather and environmental conditions, and other lifestyle factors and becomes evident to TCM practitioners through observable signs of bodily dysfunction. TCM practitioners look carefully for these signs of health and dysfunction, paying particular attention not only to the presenting signs and symptoms, but also to the medical history, general constitution, and the pulse and tongue.
Acupuncture treatment involves the insertion of fine, sterile needles into specific sites (acupuncture points) along the body’s meridians to clear energy blockages and encourage the normal flow of qi through the individual. The practitioner may also stimulate the acupuncture points using other methods, including moxibustion, cupping, laser therapy, electro-stimulation and massage, in order to re-establish the flow of qi.
As a natural form of healing, acupuncture has the following benefits:
- Provides drug-free pain relief;
- Effectively treats a wide range of acute and chronic ailments;
- Treats the underlying cause of disease and illness as well as the symptoms;
- Provides a wholistic approach to the treatment of disease and illness, linking body, mind and emotions;
- Assists in the prevention against disease and illness as well as the maintenance of general well-being.
Acupuncture is known to treat a wide range of disorders including:
Neurological conditions such as headaches, migraines, difficulty sleeping, nervous tension, stroke, some forms of deafness, facial and inter-costal neuralgia, trigeminal neuralgia, some forms of paralysis, sequelae of poliomyelitis, peripheral neuropathy, noises in the ears, dizziness, and Meniere’s disease.
Cardiovascular disorders such as high or low blood pressure, fluid retention, chest pain, angina pectoris, poor circulation, cold hands and feet, and muscle cramps.
Respiratory conditions such as bronchial asthma, acute and chronic bronchitis, acute tonsillitis, rhinitis, sinusitis, hay fever, chronic cough, laryngitis, sore throat, influenza and the common cold.
Digestive system disorders such as toothache, post-extraction pain, gingivitis, mouth ulcers, hiccough, spasms of the oesophagus, gastric and duodenal ulcers, gastric hyperacidity, gastritis, heartburn, hiatus hernia syndrome, flatulence, paralytic ileus, colitis, diarrhoea, constipation, haemorrhoids, liver and gall bladder disorders, and weight control.
Urogenital disorders such as cystitis, prostatitis, orchitis, low sexual vitality, urinary retention, kidney disorders, nocturnal enuresis, and neurogenic bladder dysfunction.
Gynaecological and obstetric disorders such as premenstrual tension, painful, heavy or irregular, or the absence of periods, abnormal uterine bleeding or discharge, hormonal disturbances, disorders associated with menopause, prolapse of the uterus or bladder, difficulty with conception, and morning sickness.
Skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, nerve rash, herpes zoster, acne, scar tissue and resultant adhesions, hair loss and dandruff.
Eye conditions such as visual disorders, red, sore, itchy or watery eyes, conjunctivitis, simple cataracts, myopia in children, and central retinitis.
Musculoskeletal disorders such as osteoarthritis, sciatica, lumbago, weak back, low back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, tenosynovitis, shoulder and neck pain, cervicobrachial syndrome, “frozen shoulder”, and “tennis elbow”.
Sporting injuries such as sprained ankles and knees, cartilage problems, corking and tearing of muscles, torn ligaments and bruises.
Psychological conditions such as depression, phobias, emotional disturbances, anxiety, nervousness and addictions such as smoking.
* The disorders above which appear in bold have been recognised by the World Health Organisation (December 1979) as having been successfully treated by acupuncture. The disorders which do not appear in bold above are other common disorders which have been found to respond well to acupuncture.
Please contact AACMA if you would like further information on acupuncture, or if you would like the contact details of qualified acupuncture practitioners in your local area.
Five Element Acupuncture
When acupuncture is used to treat only immediate symptoms it is called formula acupuncture. This type of acupuncture can be very effective in relieving the symptoms for a time but it may not be treating the cause of the person’s discomfort. A five Element acupuncturist is carefully trained in understanding natural laws and using these to diagnose, can assist the body, mind and spirit to move back into full health.
Five Element Acupuncture is an ancient form of acupuncture that works by treating a person at the levels of body, mind, heart and spirit. By doing this it helps a person move back into harmony with themselves, their emotions and their life as a whole.
This harmony is achieved by looking at the person as a whole being as well as understanding their symptoms. A Five Element practitioner places great importance on having a thorough understanding of the person, their environment, their history and the Five Elements working in their life.
The Five Elements are: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood. Each of these help create who we are and how we function in the world. Have a look through the Five Elements and see which one corresponds closest with who you are!
When acupuncture is used to treat only immediate symptoms it is called formula acupuncture. This type of acupuncture can give ready relief for a time but it may not be treating the cause of the persons discomfort. A Five Element acupuncturist is carefully trained in understanding natural laws and using these to diagnose, can assist the body, mind and spirit to move back into full health.
The practitioner will look for disharmony in the energy of the body through various ways. They will look for blocks between the acupuncture meridians flow like rivers around the body. They will look for which of the Five Elements is weakest and how that effects the person as a whole. They will look for how they can support the persons spirit through choice of acupuncture points and help them move back into a better relationship with themselves and the world around them.
Sydney Integrative Medicine acupuncturists: Amanda Tanner.