Alternative Medicine: Acupuncture Treatment

Alternative Medicine


Acupuncture Treatment – What constitutes an Acupuncture treatment?

Acupuncture is part of a complete medical system known as traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture has been used to treat disease for thousands of years and is gaining popularity in western countries. But what constitutes an Acupuncture treatment and how does it work?

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What constitutes an Acupuncture treatment?

An Acupuncture treatment is formulated by a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) or Acupuncturist, to address the patient’s individual health concerns. This is achieved through a consultation with the patient about their particular health problem. The physician will generally ask the patient a series of questions to determine the underlying pathology. These questions are designed to identify the particular underlying energy imbalance in accordance to the TCM theory.  In other words, the physician is not looking to give the disease a western name such as Dermatitis, Anaemia, Bronchitis, or similar name, rather he/she will aim to identify the condition in terms of an energy imbalance.

For example, a patient may suffer from Migraine headaches, which may be a result of Liver Fire. Once the underlying condition has been identified, an Acupuncture treatment is formulated that will aim to re-balance the imbalance of the patient’s energy. In this case, the Acupuncture treatment will be formulated to quench the fire.

In order to achieve this aim, the choice of Acupuncture points is very important. There are over 360 Acupuncture points on the human body and each has a specific set of functions. For example, Liv. 2 (Xing Jian) clears Liver Fire and would be a very good choice to include in an Acupuncture treatment that is aimed to treat Migraines caused by Liver-fire.

Generally, a typical Acupuncture treatment will make use of 3 to 6 Acupuncture points, all of which are chosen to perform a specific function that will help to re-balance the patient’s energy.

The Treatment Process

Once the Acupuncture treatment has been formulated, the physician will usually ask the patient to lie down and remove relevant clothing to expose the chosen points on the patient’s body. These points may be located anywhere on the body, however, more often than not, the majority of the points will be located on the arms or legs and may include one or two points on the front or back of the trunk.

Acupuncture needles are then inserted into these Acupuncture points. The needles are extremely fine and rarely cause any discomfort or pain. The patient may feel a slight sting or pin-prick but usually there is no pain associated with the insertion of the needles. Once the needles are inserted the patient may feel a tingling sensation that may or may not radiate from the point being stimulated by the needle. This is the sensation that is associated with the activation of an Acupuncture point.

Once all the needles that constitute the Acupuncture treatment are inserted, the needles are left in place for 20 minutes or longer, depending on the focus and aim of the treatment. In some cases the needles are only inserted for a very short period of time, while in other cases the needles are left in place for 30 minutes or longer. It just depends on the aim of the Acupuncture treatment and the condition of the patient. Most patients report the treatment to be relaxing and some even fall asleep during the treatment.

What you can expect from a course of Acupuncture treatments

Acupuncture treatments are usually repeated twice a week for a period of 6 – 12 weeks depending on the disease, its severity and whether it is chronic or acute. While many patients may feel a change in their condition after the first or second treatment, it may take several treatments before any changes are noticed. This is normal and to be expected. Acupuncture is not a miracle cure and will take time to change the existing energy imbalance of a patient.

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