Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture
Chinese Medicine is a holistic philosophy of medicine, meaning that the body is considered in a whole way, as more than the sum of its parts, and that each part is interdependent and relies upon the other parts for its proper function. It is an ancient and time honoured practice that has many different treatment methods in its repertoire. Its primary tools are acupuncture, herbal medicine and massage, but also includes the use of ancillary methods such as cupping, gua sha (a spoon shaped tool to expel heat and stagnation), moxa (a herb that is burnt to add warmth and stimulate a point or area), electro-stimulation, and liniments or balms that contain herbs and warming elements.
Chinese Medicine philosophy also encompasses the Qi (vital life force) which inhabits every living thing and travels through the body via meridians (pathways). Acupuncture points lie at specific locations along these meridians and this is where the energy is at its strongest and can be accessed by a practitioner.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese Herbal Medicine has developed over thousands of years and involves the use of primarily plant based products ranging from exotic species to more common ingredients such as ginger and liquorice. While it originated in China it is now used all across the world, to provide symptomatic relief for a wide range of conditions. It is a health system that is used preventatively, the idea being to treat imbalance before it becomes chronic or is too hard to change. Herbal medicines are individually prescribed and can be altered as the Chinese medicine diagnostic patterns begin to shift, or the focus of the treatment plan changes. Herbal Medicine is an excellent way to assist the body’s natural ability to return to good health.
Acupuncture is a powerful, yet gentle practice of medicine that has wide ranging benefits. A famous Chinese proverb says that “where there is pain, there is no free flow, where there is free flow there is no pain.” Acupuncture directly addresses this idea by endeavouring to get things free flowing again. It involves the use of fine, sterile, single use needles that are inserted into the acupuncture points and stimulated in order to move blocked or stagnated Qi, to encourage the body to function normally again. It has the added benefit of being very calming and people often find they are able to get into a deeply relaxed state which provides excellent ground for healing.
What is acupuncture used for?
Because the goal of acupuncture is to promote and restore the balance of energy, which flows throughout the body, the benefits of acupuncture can extend to a wide variety of problems, which may help people with a range of symptoms including pain, stress and fatigue.
Many health practitioners may recommend acupuncture as an adjunct treatment that may assist with IVF treatment. There is continuing research about how acupuncture can assist with the effectiveness of IVF treatment and you should consult your treating practitioners about how acupuncture may be able to help you.
If you are pregnant, Chinese Medicine treatment may be able to help you with musculoskeletal pains, nausea and vomiting.
Chinese Medicine treatment may also be able to assist with
- Management of pain, stress and fatigue related to some autoimmune disorders, in consultation with other treating health practitioners.
- Management of pain, fatigue and nausea related to many chronic diseases
- Management of vomiting or nausea arising from chemotherapy
Studies indicate that acupuncture can help relieve the symptoms of many health problems.
Please speak to our practitioners about how Chinese Medicine and acupuncture may be able to help you.
What should one expect on a visit to a practitioner of acupuncture?
Typically, the first acupuncture visit involves a comprehensive health history assessment. Questions that are included may seem strange, but in Traditional Chinese Medicine energy flow and whole-body interaction, functions and systems are the keys to diagnosing the root cause of the problem. For example, the practitioner may ask to examine your tongue, feel your pulse to help determine energy flow, or ask many questions related to bowel habits and diet, even if these seem to have nothing to do with the primary complaint.
After the initial acupuncture consultation and assessment, the needles are placed in very specific locations. The depth to which the acupuncture needles are inserted varies according to the area treated and the treatment style used by the practitioner The needles are usually left in place for up to 40 minutes and then removed. Following an acupuncture treatment, practitioners will usually reassess the client and often give suggestions for home care.
It is also typical to suggest supplemental Chinese herbs to enhance the achievement of energetic balance.
Frequently asked questions
Do the needles hurt? The sensation of the needle being inserted and manipulated is experienced differently from person to person; the initial insertion is often felt as a split second mild sting. but as the needle is moved into the Acupoint, some people report a deep grabbing sensation or a dull ache, often people don’t feel anything at all.
How many sessions will I need?
Acute symptoms may require only two to four treatments; whereas for chronic cases, it is common to have as many as 12 or more treatments, usually over a course of eight to 10 weeks. Regular monthly visits may be suggested as preventive measures to decrease stress, improve energy or boost immunity.
As of 2022 Marta Dunin-Labedzki our Principal Naturopath will also become a registered Practitioner of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncturist.