An Ancient History
Although becoming popular in the West relatively recently, acupuncture is hardly a modern concept. Developed 2000 years ago in ancient China, the story behind its invention is unknown, but some date it back to the Han Chinese Dynasty, when it was believed that soldiers pierced with arrows in battle would be cured of chronic maladies. Stone Age tools and cave paintings indicate that it may be even older! The practice spread to ancient Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam and more recently reached Western shores.
Theory of Acupuncture
Have you ever heard of chi, or qi? In Chinese Traditional Medicine, qi is the energy that flows around the body, and imbalances in this flow cause symptoms of pain. These imbalances are often caused by stress, nutrition, infection or injury. Acupuncture involves inserting special needles into the skin to correct the flow of qi and restore good health.
Qi flows around the body through channels or ‘meridians’. There are hundreds of acupuncture points or ‘acupoints’ located along these meridians (and others located outside), and a trained acupuncture therapist or ‘acupuncturist’ knows which acupoints to stimulate in order to try and ease the client’s symptoms.
Acupuncture has been used to treat a wide range of conditions, including pain, insomnia and helping people to stop smoking. But please be aware that acupuncture is a form of complementary medicine, and is not intended to replace contemporary medicine.
Western interest in acupuncture has risen dramatically in the last 20 years: in the UK alone, 4 million acupuncture treatments were carried out in 2009.
Today, some acupuncture therapists follow the ancient approach whereas others prefer a contemporary approach, meaning that whether your beliefs are traditional or modern, or even if you are just curious about acupuncture and would like to find out more, there will be a treatment to suit you.
At the start of a session, the therapist will talk to you about your symptoms and explain how they would like to treat them. You will be asked to remove your outer clothing and lie down, either on your back or on your front depending on which part of the body is to receive treatment. A number of ultra-thin, sterile needles are carefully inserted into the skin and left in situ for the duration of the session. After around one hour, the needles are carefully removed. Some clients may require multiple sessions to complete the treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
One of the most common questions people ask before receiving acupuncture is whether it will hurt. The simple answer to this is no – the needles are inserted superficially, and most clients experience minimal discomfort, though of course we ask you not to fidget during treatment! The needles are sterile, minimising the risk of infection, making this a clean and safe form of complementary medicine.
If you are interested in arranging an acupuncture session, or if you would simply like to find out more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.