What is acupuncture and what does it really involve?
Published: February 12, 2019 Last Updated: February 09, 2022
If you’ve ever researched pain management, holistic medicine or relaxation, chances are you’ve come across the word acupuncture before.
This word has also been thrust into the Western media spotlight with the rise of health focused celebrities and created the question, what is it and what is involved in acupuncture treatment?
Acupuncture can be defined as a form of traditional Chinese medicine that focuses on relieving pain, curing disease and improving general health.
The types of illnesses acupuncture can aid include:
- Pain related problems such as back, knee and neck pain
- Emotional disorder pain
- Fertility/Gastrointestinal disorders
Acupuncture can also treat many more comprehensive health conditions which our practitioners can treat with various acupuncture therapies.
The theory behind acupuncture comes from the ancient Chinese philosophy of yin and the yang that involve dark and light forces acting in the human body as they do the natural universe. It is believed that disease or physical problems in the human body are caused by an imbalance of yin and yang, resulting in an obstruction of life force or flow of energy otherwise known as Qi.
This Qi obstruction can be attributed to most ailments as this energy flows through 12 meridians (pathways) in our body, each associated with a major visceral organ. This means that in theory if we enable the Qi to flow freely through acupuncture techniques, the pain or problem will subsequently fade and you’ll be in good health in no time.
Now that we understand the theory behind the technique, let's talk about the acupuncture treatment and why they use so many needles.
A simple image search of the word acupuncture will bring up hundreds of images of needles in the body that can look quite terrifying but actually have a scientific basis behind the method.
From a scientific standpoint, acupuncture needles work because they produce a sensory stimulation to the nerves in the skin. From a Chinese philosophy standpoint, acupuncture works because the practise of inserting needles all over the 12 basic meridians in the body, particularly over a number of specialised meridians, unblocks the Qi obstruction and allows relief.
Either way you look at it, acupuncture is quite effective at giving most patients relief in some form. Not only is acupuncture effective in providing relief, it is actually a safe and sterile technique. Acupuncture needle size varies depending on the area that is being targeted, however the most common types of needles used in Australia are pre-sterilised, stainless steel and disposable (single use only).
It's important to note that acupuncture is a very specialised technique, what works for you may not always work for someone else therefore you should be speaking to an experienced naturopath that can tailor a specific solution to your problem.