Guide to acupuncture

Introduction to acupuncture

Acupuncture is the ancient form of Chinese medicine. Records of acupuncture treatment in China date back more than 5,000 years. However, it has only been used in western society since the 1800s. For more information on acupuncture, here’s realbuzz's introductory guide.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture treatment involves the insertion of extremely fine needles into specific points on the body, known as acupuncture points. The points are spread across a complex map of meridians that are said to channel and feed Chi (life energy) to organs of the body. An acupuncture treatment will involve a discussion with the therapist about the ailments to be treated and also a brief medical and personal history. The therapist may also take your pulse and ask to look at your tongue as these are good signposts to the acupuncturist for the correct treatment.

The treatment then involves relaxing while a few, sometimes as little as two, needles are inserted into points, for example, one may be placed in the big toe and another in the knee. The procedure is painless because the needles are so fine. They will be left in for a period of time before they are removed. A complete treatment usually lasts around one hour.

What is the purpose of acupuncture?

Chinese medicine teaches that the insertion of needles into acupuncture points facilitates the movement of chi around the body and to specific organs. Acupuncture can unblock and stimulate energy to flow to areas that may be unhealthy, therefore promoting healing. It can also be used to gain and maintain a balance between the numerous conflicting forces within the mind and body. Within the Chinese system these are Yin and Yang, and also the five elements, fire, earth, wood, metal and water.

Benefits of acupuncture to the active person

Acupuncture can trigger tissue healing, cell regeneration and bring pain relief. Many active people use acupuncture to help their bodies recover quicker and stronger during the rehabilitation period. Growing research points to the benefits of acupuncture for muscular-skeletal ailments and pain relief. Psychologically it can also raise energy levels, bring peace of mind and reduce depression and stress. Used regularly it can help the body adapt to physical and psychological stressors that confront the athlete.

Contacts

British Acupuncture Council, the UK’s regulatory board. Their website has a practitioner database, news and detailed information about acupuncture www.acupuncture.org.uk.

Comments (2)

  • Beth_Perk 'I've always considered acupuncture but since reading this I definitely want to give it a whirl. Thanks realbuzz.'

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  • timrogers 'I used to think this was 'alternative therapy' but after a course of treatment I am a total convert. It ought to be used by every physio. The benefits are instant.'

    Report as inappropriate

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