For many Chinese, acupuncture is viewed as a primary-care treatment. It is the insertion of single-use, very fine, sterile acupuncture needles into specific points of the body, which relate to the Chinese system of meridians and organs. In the UK, practice is monitored by the BACC.
Acupuncture is based on the East Asian medical health system, which can be traced back to Chinese medical texts over 2000 years old – making it one of the longest established forms of healthcare in the world. That said, acupuncture has continued to be developed over the centuries and there is a growing evidence-base for its benefits relating to a wide range of health problems.
Diagnosis is based on holistic principles relating to your symptoms, your lifestyle and your emotional well-being. Acupuncture is a safe procedure – if undertaken by a trained professional. Some patients report little or no sensations during the insertion of needles; others liken it to having a hair plucked or report a dull or tingling sensation.
A gentle electrical current is passed between pairs of acupuncture needles to increase the stimulation of points for various treatment protocols. I use it in cases reporting pain and stiffness of joints/muscles as well as in gynaecology and pregnancy.
Auricular (Ear) Acupuncture
Ear Acupuncture can be used in combination with body acupuncture or as a separate treatment. Typically it involves using smaller acupuncture needles, semi-permanent needles or metal pellets or seeds held in place with plasters.
Ear Acupuncture involves the stimulation of certain points on the ear to prevent and treat illness, relieve pain or to effect organs, body parts, mood or body functions. Ancient Chinese texts, including the Huang di Nei Jing Su Wen (403-221BC), state that the body’s channels have a vital connection with the ear. Thus, Chinese doctors have treated conditions by massaging, heating or controlled bleeding of selected ear points for 1000s of years.
In the 1950’s, after 30 years of observation and research, Auricular therapy was discovered and developed by Dr. Paul Nogier. He used a figure of a tiny human turned upside-down to illustrate the link between every part of the body and its corresponding reflex point in the ear.
"The body is a magnificent system, which has its own self-healing methods. If there is an imbalance in the body or its healing mechanism this will be reflected in the associated part of the ear. If that part is stimulated the corresponding part of the body will react to it."
In 1990, Dr Nogier presided over a working group convened by the World Health Organisation to recognise and standardise ear acupuncture as a valid method of diagnosis and treatment. Ear acupuncture is used widely in Europe and the USA by trained acupuncturists, physiotherapists, nurses and midwifes.
An ancient practice originating in China, Cupping involves placing sterile cups on the skin to create a vacuum on a specific point to help the blood or Qi flow. Many athletes have begun to use this procedure to assist recovery and boost their performance after physical exercise.
Thereapists create a vacuum or suction in the cup by placing a flammable substance such as alcohol, herbs, or paper in a cup and setting it on fire. As the air inside the cup cools, it creates a suction. The cup is placed on the body on a specific point, or larger areas, which draws the skin and superficial muscle layer into the cup to help the blood and Qi (energy) flow more easily in areas of stagnation.
Although there may be a reddening similar to the appearance of a bruise, the muscles have not been traumatised in any way. Cupping is typically used to relieve respiratory conditions, improve Qi or treat musculoskeletal conditions. World-class althetes made headlines with their use of cupping to boast their performance and recovery at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
TuiNa translates as ‘push and grasp’ and is a sophisticated style of medical massage used to treat injuries, joints, and internal disorders.
Based on the diagnostic principles, points and channels of acupuncture TuiNa stimulates the meridians and acupuncture points without the use of needles. It is undertaken fully clothed without the use of oils and can be both vigorous or gentle depending on the condition being treated.
TuiNa was officially recognised by the Chinese government in 1949 for its health benefits. According to the Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences, TuiNa promotes and re-establishes health and restores injured tissues.
This treatment goes beyond a standard massage procedure and is particularly suitable for children and individuals who prefer a less invasive procedure than using needles. TuiNa can be undertaken seated, which makes it highly suitable for treatment during office hours.
TuiNa exploring body dynamics
"it is the massage of acupuncture points and meridians. It is best described as a mixture of Western massage, Japanese Shiatsu, Naprapathy "Iand subtle Chiropractic methods."