I think most people have heard of or know about Acupuncture but not many actually know what its for or how it can be used.
I graduated with a degree in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine from the London College of Traditional Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine (LCTA) in 2010.
The degree was validated by Portsmouth University.
I studied part time for 4 years whilst holding down a full-time job! Sadly, the LCTA has since closed but there are many institutions still offering the degree.
Such was my passion for learning about this seemingly magical art, I was willing to sacrifice time, energy, all my annual leave and social life, in order to gain the qualification.
Having studied Ju Jitsu for 20 odd years and being intensely interested in all eastern philosophies, I was naturally drawn to the subject.
After a bout of tennis elbow which was treated unsuccessfully by 6 weeks of physiotherapy, my therapist offered me some needling to see if that would help. I am very needle phobic but was in such pain that I reluctantly agreed. After 3 sessions of pain free needle insertion around the elbow, I was almost back to full recovery!
Absolutely delighted and amazed, I was hooked.
So what is acupuncture?
In very basic terms, it is the insertion of fine stainless steel needles into specific points on the body which are thought to stimulate the movement of energy and facilitate healing.
Acupuncture has been practised in China for over 2000 years and was originally done with sharpened bone for needles. The most remarkable thing is that the Chinese learned about the body, its energy, its organs etc largely by observation and by relating how we function to the changing seasons, weather and time of day.
The body has a supply of Qi or life force/energy which we are born with, passed on by our parents. It cannot be lost or gained, but rather cultivated, moved, supplemented and dispersed.
The Qi is thought to run in 12 channels throughout the body - shown in the pic opposite. Tapping into these channels via specific points, calls up the Qi and sends it to where it is deficient or disperses it from where it is in excess.
The principles of Chinese medicine are centred around the concept of Yin and Yang.
Yin and Yang are the balance mechanism of the universe and are two halves of a whole, not just opposites.
Without Yin there is no Yang. Without Yang there is no Yin and the universe ceases to exist.
Something cannot be just Yang or just Yin. One can be more Yang or less Yin for example.
Yang is hot, light, energetic and dry. Yin is cold, dark, still and damp. This is explained in its basic form.
The practice of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) seeks to rebalance the Yin/Yang within the body and organs using the Qi. After this, it gets a bit more complicated!
Practitioners of acupuncture examine the pulse and tongue to assist in their diagnosis, as well as taking a full medical and lifestyle history.
You may be asked about your energy levels, the type of dreams you have at night, whether you are predominately a hot or cold person, and your dietary habits. This information all feeds into a diagnosis and then a point prescription is formulated to best treat the condition.
Needles will be inserted in various places, usually symmetrically on the body and you may have a front of body treatment followed by a back treatment too. The needles are generally left in situ for about 15-20 mins depending on the diagnosis and they can be attached to a Tens machine for electro stimulation or some moxa herb (mugwort) can be burned on the needle end to heat the point and accentuate the treatment.
Your practitioner may chose to do some fire cupping too where glass jars are placed on the skin after having the air removed by a flame and a vacuum formed. This treatment is thought to increase blood flow and move Qi.
The practice of acupuncture can have far reaching effects and can be very powerful. You will be assessed as to your resilience and potential treatment reaction during the initial consultation.
I love the way acupuncture and osteopathy can overlap. Blood and Qi are thought to depend on each other for good flow in eastern medicine. Osteopaths believe that good blood flow is the key to healing. What a fabulous concept.....
Lucy is registered with the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC), who require stringent health and safety procedures to be met in order to register.
Acupuncture is not a compulsorily registered profession in the UK but you should access the BAcC "find a therapist" site in order to find properly qualified and insured practitioners. See the link below.
Thanks for reading and please feel free to contact Lucy at OsteoFusion with any questions.