What is it and how does it work?
Simply defined, acupuncture literally means to
puncture the skin with a needle. However, what
traditional acupuncturists see is a network of
interconnected energy pathways (12 main ones),
called channels or Mai in our bodies. Along these
channels are numerous acupuncture points, and
when needled, can influence the overall energy
and health of a person (including specific functions
of the organs).
During consultation, I focus on identifying any imbalance in these channels and in the body utilizing traditional diagnosis techniques. I examine the body’s energy flow, called Qi in Chinese and Ki in Japanese: is there a deficient condition or an excess condition?, is the flow of Ki blocked?, is there too much heat or cold in the body?, is the fluid being accumulated in the wrong place?, and so on. These imbalances can be caused by injury, illness, poor lifestyle, medicinal and recreational drugs, inappropriate emotions, and/or individual’s inherited constitution.
I will select and needle appropriate acupuncture points based on this diagnosis. When certain points along these channels are needled, they send a message to the body to rectify the imbalance on its own, tapping into your own self healing ability.
Is Acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture needles are sterilized, single use and disposable, and acupuncture treatment is safe when performed properly. It is a non-toxic treatment and adverse reactions are minimal. This is one of the reasons that acupuncture is popular in the treatment of chronic pains or other chronic conditions even if the effect of acupuncture may not be as potent as a conventional drug therapy.
Is Traditional Acupuncture effective for any conditions?
No. There are limitations to what acupuncture can do. In general, the immediate benefits of traditional acupuncture are deep relaxation, vitality, and a sense of overall well-being whatever your conditions may be.
Traditional acupuncture is considered to be effective in treating a wide range of conditions. Acupuncture has been becoming evidence based medicine, and British Acupuncture Council put together very useful information about the research based benefits of acupuncture.
An interesting characteristic of traditional acupuncture treatment is that it looks at
the person as a whole, while addressing the person’s main health issue. Therefore,
the person with a headache, for example, can often have other health issues, such as period pain, and both can be alleviated at the same time.
How many treatments do I need?
The number of treatments required will depend on many factors, including the nature, chronicity, seriousness of the condition as well as your overall health and constitution. It is important to remember that each person responds to the treatments in different ways.
Also, acupuncture can be for simply maintaining your well-being or for preventive measures, without specific health conditions presenting; and on as as-necessary basis, such as stress management, and pre- & post- natal care.
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Atsuko Fritz- Acupuncture & Kampo | Chiswick, London