is based on a medical system that was developed in Asia over 2,000 years ago. Its focus is on the restoration of health through the use of fine needles to stimulate the body’s own healing response. Acupuncture is used to alleviate pain, chronic illness and for general wellbeing, affecting mind and body. A sophisticated and relevant medical system which is able to help complex and multiple illnesses by viewing the body as a whole and addressing root causes as well as the symptoms. Everyone’s illness and health is personal to them, so acupuncture and Chinese medical philosophy emphasises treating the individual.[clear]
The World Health Organisation lists over 100 illnesses where acupuncture can be effective,acute or chronic pain; stress related issues – depression, insomnia, anxiety; gynaecological issues – menopause, menstrual or fertility concerns; skin conditions; digestive problems – IBS, reflux; migraines and headaches.
In addition to acupuncture, other related therapies may be used either separately or during treatment such as moxibustion; ear acupuncture; massage therapy or cupping.
Moxa and moxibustion
Moxibustion is an essential part of Chinese medicine which uses moxa, a soft woolly substance prepared from mugwort leaves (Artemisia vulgaris). Moxa is placed either directly on the skin or held just above it, over specific acupuncture points or meridians. The herb is lit and as it smoulders slowly, a therapeutic heat permeates the skin and affects the flow of ‘qi’ (energy) and blood in the area being treated.
Cupping can be used as part of acupuncture treatment, or as a standalone therapy. it focuses on meridians or on certain acupuncture points.
The term “Cupping” applies to a technique that uses small glass, plastic cups or bamboo jars as suction devices that are placed on the skin. Once the suction has occurred, the cups can be gently moved across the skin. The suction in the cups causes the skin and superficial muscle layer to be lightly drawn into the cup. For most patients, this is a particularly relaxing and relieving sensation. Once suctioned, the cups are generally left in place for about ten minutes while the patient relaxes.
Cupping is used to relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, rheumatism, and even cellulite. For weight loss and cellulite treatments, oil is first applied to the skin, and then the cups are moved up and down the surrounding area.
Ear acupuncture works on the basis that the ear is a microsystem that reflects the whole body, in same way that reflexology works with the foot. It is a healthcare system which can alleviate acute pain or treat more chronic conditions and is widely used for addiction, cessation of smoking or weight loss in conjunction with a related programme.
It is also helpful in alleviating stress or anxiety. Needles, ear seeds, magnets or massage may be used to stimulate ear points.