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Acupuncture is a tried and tested system of traditional medicine, which has been used in China and other eastern cultures for thousands of years to restore, promote, and maintain good health. Its benefits are now widely acknowledged all over the world and in the past decades traditional Chinese acupuncture has begun to feature more prominently in mainstream healthcare. In conjunction with needling, the practitioner may use techniques such as moxibustion, cupping, massage or electro-acupuncture.

There is much talk about ‘Qi’ in Chinese medical acupuncture. Qi (pronounced chee) is the underlying motivating force for all living activity. It is like the warming light and energy from the sun; without it we would not survive. Qi travels with the blood through designated pathways in the body called meridians, supplying nutrients to all our cells, tissues, and organs. When this balanced circulation of Qi and blood is altered illness and pain result. Acupuncture helps maintain and re-establish the proper distribution of Qi and blood through the body.

Acupuncture works by triggering the body’s natural ability to heal. Fine, sterile, disposable needles are inserted into specific points on the body (called acupoints) in order to increase Qi and blood circulation, flush out inflammation, relax the muscles, free nerve entrapment, stop pain, calm the mind, and improve immunity and overall health.

Your First Acupuncture Experience

Generally, your first visit is longer than your follow up visits or at the very least it entails quite a bit of questioning. Some practitioners will not treat at all on the first visit, while others have very succinct questions and begin treating once they have made a diagnosis.

The intial questioning is a very important part of the care your acupuncturist can provide to you. While many of the questions may seem entirely irrelevant to your condition, for example asking the quality of your bowel movements when you came in for back pain or your psychological state when you came in for menstrual problems, there are very good reasons behind the questions. The answers you provide to the questions, along with other basic diagnostic tools such as looking at your tongue and feeling your pulse allow the acupuncturist to tailor the treatment specifically to you.

This individualization of the treatments is one of the strong points of oriental medicine. It is why people may experience broad changes within themselves after receiving acupuncture for a specific complaint. It also means that the treatments can be modified over time if they are not proving effective.