Acupuncture is gaining popularity really quickly, in fact according to a 2021 World Health Organisation report it is the most widely used traditional medicine practice globally. Many people have experienced the benefits of acupuncture for a multitude of health problems.
For some, acupuncture still sounds painful and scary but surprisingly it really is not. We’ve created this guide to help people get a clear picture of acupuncture, covering all of its aspects.
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture has been studied and practiced for over 2500 years. A history that long tells us that it must have clear benefits, or else it would have been abandoned a long time ago.
Acupuncture involves the use of thin needles, inserted in the skin at so called Acupuncture Points. You’ve probably seen the picture of a person covered in lines, these are the so called meridians. These meridians are the pathways for energy and blood flow throughout the body.
What Are Acupuncture Points?
Acupuncture points are located on the meridians. Meridians are a network that is much like the circulatory systems in Western medicine. There are 12 meridians on the body and another 8 so called extraordinary meridians. There are around 365 acupuncture points on the body, all of which have a particular function.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture is a way to balance the energy flow and circulation in your body by inserting a tiny needles into acupuncture points.
The latest research shows that activating a point by using acupuncture creates effects in specific regions of the brain. They have used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to demonstrate these effects. This means researchers are looking at the persons brain whilst they are in an MRI machine and getting acupuncture. The results are amazing and the data reflect significant blood-flow changes in response to stimulation of acupuncture points in the lower leg.
Studies have also shown that acupuncture activates the release of endorphins (pain killers) and serotonin (the feel good hormone).
When To Get Acupuncture Treatment?
Historically, acupuncture was used to keep people well. In ancient China, people would pay traditional medicine doctors only to prevent illness from occurring. If a person got ill, they would be treated for free until they were better. Hence, preventative treatment plays an important role in acupuncture treatment.
Acupuncture is a holistic form of treatment. This means that it will take into account everything that is going on for a person at one time. This is the opposite to what is happening in Western medicine where there is a specialist for just about each and every body part. As acupuncturists we aim to make sense of the complete picture of physical, mental and spiritual health and treat the body and mind as a whole.
What Are Common Conditions We See In Clinic?
In Asian countries, a visit to the acupuncturist is much like a visit to a GP here in the Western world. The acupuncturists can deal with many different health problems. However in the last decade, seeking acupuncture for certain condition health conditions has become quite popular. Some of these conditions are:
Are There Any Side Effects To Acupuncture?
Just like any other modality, acupuncture may have some negative side effects. To minimise the risks of these, it is important to see a qualified and registered practitioner. In Australia acupuncturists need to be registered with AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency).
Some of the side effects that may occur are:
- Bleeding at the site of the insertion
- Bruising at the site of the insertion
What To Expect From Your First Acupuncture Session?
We go through great length to understand your health situation by asking many questions about your health, diet and lifestyle. Once we have a clear picture, we will use pulse and tongue diagnosis to come to a diagnosis.
Pulse diagnosis is performed by placing 3 fingers on your pulse, on either side of your body. This gives us great information about the state of your organs and your overall health.
Tongue diagnosis means that we will be looking at your tongue. We examine the shape, colour, moisture and coating of your tongue. This will also add information to our diagnosis.
Once the diagnosis is clear, you will receive your first acupuncture treatment. The needles will be placed at certain points on your body and will remain in place for about 20-25 minutes. During this time you will be asked to rest and relax as much as you can.
After the treatment we will discuss your treatment plan with you. Most conditions will require you to come back for a series of treatments. Acupuncture treatments have a cumulative effect which means you will get better over time. As a general rule, the longer you have had a health concern, the longer it takes to heal it.
Is Acupuncture The Right Treatment For Me?
Acupuncture, like anything else, is not for everyone. If you’ve read this article and you still have questions, please contact us to get a more personalised answer.
When choosing an acupuncturist you can ask the following questions:
- Qualifications: ensure you work with a qualified, registered acupuncturist.
- Up to date study: check what recent study the acupuncturist has engaged in. In Australia, acupuncturists are required to stay up to date by attending courses for at least 20 hours a year.
- Your condition: does the acupuncturist have experience treating your health complaint? Most acupuncturist have areas they have a specific interest in treating.
Is Acupuncture Covered By Medicare Or Private Health?
Acupuncture is not yet covered by Medicare. If you have Private Health Insurance with Extra’s cover you might be able to get a rebate. Please check your policy to make sure acupuncture is included. We are using HICAPS so if you are covered you will only have to pay the gap.
How Do I Make An Appointment?