Acupuncture is a branch of traditional Chinese medicine which originated around 3,000 years ago. It gradually made its way out of China and across Asia, eventually reaching the rest of the world in the last century.
In recent years acupuncture has rapidly increased in popularity. More research is being carried out all the time, and we are now beginning to scientifically understand how this ancient system of medicine works and its far-reaching benefits.
Acupuncture aims to both maintain health and treat disease. It is carried out by placing fine needles at specific points on the body called acupuncture points. These needles are as thin as a hair, sterile and disposed of after a single use. Once the needles are in place people experience a range of different sensations. These vary between a warm, tingling sensation and a light, dull ache. Most people find it an extremely relaxing experience.
Acupuncture is a holistic therapy, meaning that it aims to treat the body as a whole rather than focusing on individual symptoms. It seeks to identify and treat the underlying cause of a disease.
Imagine your body as a tree. When it gets sick, the first place that you see symptoms is usually the leaves. But you cannot fix it by treating the leaves alone. You also have to pay attention to the roots. Once you start treating the roots, the whole tree becomes better. This is the core philosophy behind acupuncture.
Acupuncture also places great importance on the connection between the body and the mind. One of the major ideas behind it is that any emotional disturbance can result in physical illness and vice versa.
Balance is the key word with acupuncture. By balancing both the body and the mind, it aims to keep all of your body's systems working in harmony. It can be used as a preventative medicine, to stay healthy and prevent disease as well as treating a wide range of different conditions.
Acupuncture has been tried and tested over the course of many years and is known to be both safe and effective. It can be used by people of all ages including young children and pregnant women.
Side effects are rare but can include feeling tired, dizzy or light-headed, or minor bruising. However, most people feel revitalized and rejuvenated following an acupuncture treatment.
Some of the conditions commonly treated by acupuncture include: