Fact: Latin ‘To prick (with) needle’
Founded: Over 2000 years ago in China
Therapy Type: Energy Healing
WHAT EXACTLY IS ACUPUNCTURE?
Acupuncture involves penetrating the skin at specific acupressure points or ‘acupoints’ with fine, solid, metallic needles for the purpose of healing. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, these Acupuncture points lie along meridians, interconnected body channels, beneath the skin where our own vital energy ‘qi’ or ‘chi’ flows. In this way, Acupuncture needles correct any imbalances by removing the blockages of energy and restoring health and wellness.
Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body's internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption, and energy production activities, and in the circulation of their energy through the meridians. The foundation of acupuncture is the belief that the acupuncture points are stimulated through the application of fine needles. The nervous system aroused by this stimulation causing a release of chemicals in the spinal cord, brain and in the muscles. Furthermore it is believed that the release of these chemicals alters an individual’s sense of pain, or it will affect the body’s internal regulating system, due to the body allowing other chemicals and hormones to be released.
Acupuncture can support and aid the body in it’s own ability to heal and enhance an individual’s emotional and physical wellbeing. Acupuncture can achieve this by boosting energy levels by alleviating the biochemical imbalances within the body.
Acupuncture may benefit the following physical and mental conditions according to the World Health Organisation:
Sessions generally last between 45 minutes and 1 hour. During the initial session your acupuncture practitioner will ask you some question you about your current health, lifestyle and medical history. A physical examination, in which the therapist would examine your tongue, the smell of your breath and body and your pulse in several different places, may also take place.
Following your holistic assessment, small acupuncture needles are inserted into specific points of the body depending on your condition. As many as 15 needles are used at one time and these are left in place for a few minutes to an hour. Acupuncturists aim to relieve an individual’s ailment, by assessing the whole body or holistically. Some practitioners use electronic stimulation by running an electrical current through the needles. This process may or may not penetrate the skin.
The substances released as a result of acupuncture not only relax the whole body but they also regulate serotonin in the brain which plays an important role in the client’s disposition. As a result, depression is a common condition treated with acupuncture. Individuals who are treated by an acupuncturist often experience no pain at all during the insertion of the needles. However each experience is different and while one client may feel relaxed, another may feel a sense of stimulation by the experience. The acupuncturist will advise you upon how many sessions may be required, depending on your condition. However a course of six to ten sessions is usual.
Most people find Acupuncture deeply relaxing and enjoy the tension it releases throughout the body. It is also extremely safe when carried out by a qualified therapist. It is wise to carry out some research and select a therapist who is either a member of, or accredited by, an association or professional body such as the New Zealand Register of Acupuncturists (NZRA). Acupuncture therapists are obligated to a code of ethics and procedure that determines the therapy is carried out in a suitable and safe environment. These regulations also guarantee a specialist who has undergone certifiable training and receives professional upskilling.
The Wellness Directory provides a ready-made referral list of certified practitioners within your region. We fully encourage you to do some independent research by checking out individual credentials, i.e. experience, training, qualifications, relevant client feedback and so forth.
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