Chinese medicine is an ancient system of healing that has its roots in China and was developed more than 2000 years ago. One of the most important aspects of Chinese medicine is the concept of Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) which can loosely be translated as ‘vital life force’. Qi could also be described as the energy that drives all the physiological processes in our bodies (for example our digestion) but it also encompasses our mental processes and our emotions.
In Chinese medicine good health is seen as a state in which Qi courses smoothly and freely through the whole body. Any disruption of the Qi flow will lead to imbalance and eventually to ill-health or disease. For example, headaches could be described as Qi being ’stuck’ in the head.
By stimulating acupuncture points the acupuncturist seeks to restore normal energy flow. This will encourage the body to return to a more balanced state and better health.
During a treatment a number of needles are inserted in various parts of the body. They are generally left in place for about 20 minutes.
The needles are sterile, disposable stainless steel needles. The insertion is in most cases painless, sometimes a small pinch can be felt. Once in place, patients often feel a dull ache or a warm tingling sensation which is a completely normal reaction. Most people find acupuncture a very relaxing experience.
The number of treatments required depends on the case. Acute situations can often be resolved in one or two sessions while longstanding chronic problems will require treatments over a longer period of time. Treatment progress is carefully monitored so as to space the treatments accordingly. A common scenario is 3-4 treatments at weekly intervals, followed by more widely spaced appointments.
There are also patients who come once a month or every six weeks as a preventative measure (for example to support their immune system). They are aware that getting regular treatments helps them not only with their specific problem but makes them better placed to deal with the stresses of everyday life, to feel calmer, and to sleep better.