1. It’s natural – All healing is done by the body’s natural healing mechanisms. Even the greatest surgeon can’t heal the smallest cut – only your body can do that.
2. It works with your body – Modern medicine is miraculous, but your body’s self-healing abilities are even more so. Sometimes, modern drugs work by preventing or masking symptoms instead of helping to bring your self-healing abilities into play. Sometimes these symptoms (such as fever, inflammation, etc.) are actually your body’s attempt to heal itself. Blocking these symptoms (while often necessary) can give relief, but perhaps at the cost of true healing.
3. Side effects are minimal or non-existent – Experts agree, all drugs have side effects. The Founder of the Eli Lilly Pharmaceutical Company, once said, “A drug without side effects is no drug at all”. Whereas acupuncture and Chinese herbs work with the body’s systems to help bring them back into balance. This means that side effects are usually minimal or non-existent. This is not to say that herbal medicine is without side effects if used inappropriately.
4. It’s safe – Adverse or unwanted effects are very low compared to other types of treatment and most commonly there are no side-effects.
5. It is outstanding for chronic and ‘functional’ conditions – Modern medicine is exceptional for certain acute conditions – infections, broken bones, injury and anything requiring surgery – to name a few. It’s often not so good at chronic conditions, which is where acupuncture and herbal medicine can really stand out. See the Conditions treated page for more details on what acupuncture can treat (note that not all are chronic conditions.)
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which also includes Chinese Herbal Medicine, Tuina (a form of massage), Dietary Therapy, and special Exercise Therapy known as Qi Gong/T’ai Chi. Acupuncture began with the discovery that the stimulation of specific areas of the skin affected the functioning of certain organs and parts of the body.
How does it work?
There is no widely accepted theory as to exactly how acupuncture works, but plenty of evidence that it does work. Basically acupuncture works by correcting imbalances that can occur in the body. TCM theory says that our bodies are made up of a collection of organ systems i.e. the Respiratory system (‘Lung’ in TCM), the circulatory system (‘Heart’ in TCM), the Endocrine system (‘Kidney’ in TCM) and each of these systems can either overact or underact. Some of us may have a low ‘Lung’ energy (frequent colds, breathlesness etc) or a deficient ‘Kidney’ energy (frequent urination, infertility, early greying hair) or an overactive ‘Heart’ enegy (palpitations, insomnia, stress). These imbalances can give rise to disease. Acupuncture works by re-balancing a particular organ system(s) so that the root cause of the disease is eliminated. The second best thing about acupuncture is that it doesn’t just focus on symptoms of disease – it focusses on the root cause.
Science would have lots of different ways of explaining how acupuncture works and these include various ways such as; changes in blood chemistry following acupuncture, Hormonal changes, neurological changes, Blood flow rate changes, etc. Modern research is now able to see quite specific changes as a result of acupuncture by means of FMRI scans of the brain etc.
The best thing is that it works!
What can Acupuncture do for me?
Most people respond very well to acupuncture treatment, sometimes people can get a complete resolution of their problem. Some will get partial relief, and small few find acupuncture ineffective for them. Quite often results go hand-in-hand with the number of treatments i.e. people who ‘stick with the programme’ tend to see the best results. See Conditions treated to view conditions/disorders for which acupuncture has been helpful. To discuss how acupuncture could make a real difference to your health and well-being please ring me on 086 1556384.
What books can I read to find out more?
There are literally hundreds of books on TCM and acupuncture, some written for the general public, others for the serious practitioner. I recommend the following books for the reader who wishes to know more about acupuncture/TCM without getting bogged down in textbook detail.
‘The Web that has no Weaver’, Ted. Kaptchuk, Rev. 2000 Edn, Contemporary Books Inc., ISBN 0-8092-2840-8.
A Guide to Acupuncture’, Firebrace & Hill, 1988, Hamyln Publishing, ISBN 0-600-56014-7
‘Principles of Acupuncture’, Angela Hicks, 1997, Thorsons, ISBN 0-7225-3409-4
‘Between Heaven & Earth – A Guide to Chinese Medicine’, Harriet Beinfield & Efrem Korngold, 1992, Ballantine Books Inc., ISBN 0-3453-7974-8
These books can be ordered through major booksellers or on the web via www.amazon.co.uk