Acupuncture is a component of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which originated in China over 5,000 years ago. It is a form of natural healing whose goal is to establish a healthier state of body function and to increase the body’s capacity to cope with stress. It has the following major benefits:
How does it work?
- Drug-free pain relief through release of hormones known as endorphins.
- Treatment of many common diseases, by targeting their cause as well symptoms, thus reducing the likelihood of recurrence.
- Prevention against disease due to its ability to detect and treat energy imbalances before they lead to disease.
- Maintenance treatment of long term conditions, thus reducing the need for medication and surgery.
- Holistic approach to illness, linking body, mind and emotions
The human body can be likened to a highly complex electrical circuit. Like any electrical circuit, it must be kept in good working order if it is to function effectively. If the human circuit breaks down, the result is illness.
Each person has an energy circulation. To maintain good health, it is essential for the body’s energy, as well as the blood, to circulate in a continuous and unobstructed manner. The pathways through which the energy flows are called meridians and these circulate through the organs and tissues of the body. The energy which flows along the meridians is called Qi. These meridians were mapped out by the ancient Chinese, and modern technological methods such as electronic and thermal readings are now being used to detect them.
There are over 500 acupuncture points lying along the meridians. By stimulating these points with needles, the quality and quantity of Qi and fluids can be normalised. Often, an area or acupuncture point is warmed and stimulated by a Chinese herb in a process called moxibustion. Suction cups and massage may also be utilised to enhance the treatment.
What does acupuncture treat?
There is a wide range of disorders that can be treated. The World Health Organisation (December 1979) recognises a number of disorders that have been successfully treated by acupuncture. These include:
- Musculoskeletal – osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, shoulder, neck and back pain, sciatica, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow.
- Sporting injuries
- Neurological – headaches, migraines, difficulty sleeping, nervous tension, stroke, facial, intercostal and trigeminal neuralgia, facial paralysis
- Cardiovascular – high or low blood pressure, poor circulation, cold hands and feet, muscle cramps.
- Respiratory – asthma, hay fever, sinusitis, influenza, common cold.
- Digestive – gastritis, diarrhoea, constipation, haemorrhoids, weight control.
- Gynaecological and obstetric conditions – painful periods, disorders associated with menopause, infertility, morning sickness
- Skin – eczema, acne, shingles.
- Psychological – depression, anxiety, smoking addiction.
Patients usually experience improvement after the first treatment. However, individual variations do occur and it should be noted that acupuncture is not able to fix everything in one treatment. Repeated treatment will improve general health, sleep, digestion and energy levels.
Acupuncture in the treatment of gynaecological and obstetric conditions
Acupuncture is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which originated in China over 5,000 years ago. It is a form of natural healing whose goal is to restore physical, mental and emotional balance, establish a healthy state of function and to increase the body’s capacity to cope with stress.
It works by stimulating acupuncture points using needles. These points lie along pathways called meridians, through which a person’s energy (Qi) circulates. To maintain health, it is essential for the body’s energy, just like blood, to circulate in a continuous and unobstructed manner. Disorders in energy flow lead to illness, and acupuncture helps to restore health by normalising the quality and quantity of Qi.
There is a wide range of disorders that can be treated by acupuncture. The World Health Organisation (December 1979) recognises a number of disorders that have been successfully treated. These include many gynaecological and obstetric conditions, such as:
- Heavy, painful, irregular or absence of periods
- Uterine bleeding
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Vaginal discharge or itching
- Menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes, nervousness, anxiety, palpitations, sleeping disturbance
- Female hormonal conditions
- Morning sickness
- Urinary dysfunction
- Difficult labour
- Foetal malposition
- Postpartum recuperation
- IVF support
- Prolonged pregnancy
- Miscarriage prevention
In my practice, I have encountered a number of women with various gynaecological and obstetric conditions. For example, one patient who had unsuccessfully undergone 10 rounds of in vitro fertilisation treatment was able to give birth to twins after treatment by acupuncture combined with Chinese herbal medicine. Other patients who suffered from obstetric conditions, such as morning sickness, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome and foetal malposition have also achieved positive outcomes.