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What is Acupuncture & how does it work ?
Acupuncture is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and involves the insertion of needles and sometimes the application of heat or electrical stimulation at very precise acupuncture points. It is a very old method of natural healing which also includes the use of herbs and exercise (Tai Chi). It is a method of encouraging the body to promote self healing and to improve function.

The classical Chinese idea is that channels or meridians of energy run throughout the body and over its surface. The energy in these meridians flows through the body to nourish and energise the tissues.

An obstruction in the movement of energy in any one of the meridians causes a blockage in the flow within the meridian system, rather like a river that has a dam built across its path. Blockages, deficiencies or excesses in the circulation of the energy (chi or qi)result in disease and pain. By correcting such imbalances, the body is restored to a more healthy pain free state.Inserting acupuncture needles into points along the meridian is one way to do this.

Each meridian has a relationship with the functional systems within the body e.g. Heart, Spleen, Kidney, Liver etc. It should be noted that though the names of organs are used to distinguish the various systems, these terms have much broader meaning in traditional Chinese medicine than they do in conventional Western medicine since they incorporate both emotional and psychological aspects of the disease state as well as physical attributes. For example, in traditional Chinese medicine the Heart meridian is responsible for consciousness, anxiety and sleeping as well as the physical functioning of the organ.

Thus treatment with acupuncture can help the body's internal organs to correct imbalances in for example digestion, absorption of nutrients and energy production within the cells and in the circulation of their energy through the meridians. The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body's own internal regulating system. The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body's natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and emotional well-being.

Acupuncture can be given along side other physiotherapy techniques.
How many treatments will be needed & are there any side effects ?
The number of treatments needed differs from person to person. For complex or long-standing conditions, one or two treatments a week for several months may be recommended. For acute problems, usually fewer visits are required.

Side effects are rarely an issue. Occasionally there may be an aggravation of the original symptoms for a day or two or possibly changes in functions such as appetite, sleep, bowel or urination patterns.Emotional states may also be triggered.

These effects should not be a cause for concern, they are simply indications that the acupuncture is starting to work.

During the first couple of sessions it is not unusual to feel deeply relaxed and even a sense of mild disorientation following the treatment. These sensations soon pass and only require a period of rest to resolve.
Are there any do's and don'ts to be aware of?
To enhance the value of a treatment, the following guidelines are important:

Not really. People often associate needles with injections which may hurt. This is because fluid is injected into the tissues. Acupuncture is a relatively painless procedure due to the fineness of the needles. A stinging sensation may be experienced as the needle is inserted, but this passes quickly and you should then experience no further pain. I use disposable, single-use needles of between 0.18mm and 0.51mm in diameter, which are hardly felt. Sometimes the qi (pronounced chee)) or energy movement is felt. This has been described generally as an ache, or warmth, or like water washing over the skin.
Is acupuncture painful ?
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