What is Acupuncture used for? Does it hurt? Does it work? How long does it take? How many treatments will I need? Who can go for Acupuncture? And how will my doctor feel about me going? These are just some of the questions I am often asked. In my own way let me explain what happens when you go for an Acupuncture treatment. You will always be received into a calm, warm, welcoming environment. Everything you share will be completely confidential a treatment plan will be set up to best suit your needs. The case history will start just like that of conventional medicine; your name, address, past medical history, family details, medication etc Your blood pressure will be checked and you will be comfortably seated on a treatment bed. The foundation of acupuncture diagnosis and treatment are Pulse Taking, Tongue Diagnosis, Five Element Diagnosis, Meridian System and Treatment Pulse Taking. There are 12 main organs in the body and by gently palpating the wrist area of both the right and left hand the acupuncturist can feel the energy flow of the organs and in turn through the meridian system. Right wrist; lung / large intestine spleen / stomach pericardium / thermostat of the body Left wrist; heat / small intestine liver / gall bladder kidney / bladder Normal pulse should be calm, smooth, soft and even paced. When the body is not in harmony, the pulse can be rapid, slow, rough, wiry, weak, slippery, thready, forceless, deep, superficial… the list goes on. Taking the acupuncture pulse takes years of experience and when you give the client the details of their pulses they are often ‘blown away’, the pulses are a direct reflection on what is going on in the body so they never lie. Clients often feel you seeing through them with the information gathered at this point, however the diagnosis is just beginning. Tongue Diagnosis. The tongue has many relationships and connections in the body, both to the meridian and internal organs. It is an integral part to pierce together the jigsaw to create a diagnosis and in turn to pick the acupuncture points needed for treatment. A normal tongue should be light red or pinkish with a normal size and thin white coating. The case history takes into consideration the colour, shape, moisture, tongue coating, thickness and colour of the coating, tongue cracks. If your tongue is stiff, swollen, flaccid, has teeth marks… again the list goes on. This information, with the pulse, is now bringing together the story of how your body if working. This is an area where the client can actually see the difference in their tongue after a few visits, so not only do they feel better but have the validation when they see the tongue changes. Which tongue are you?
The Five Elements. As part of the consultation the acupuncturist endeavours to diagnose what ‘element’ you are from the five elements; water, wood, earth, metal and fire. This is a diagnostic tool used to ascertain what your weakest link is. For example; Winter = Water = kidney and bladder Spring = Wood = liver and gallbladder Late Summer = Earth = spleen and stomach Autumn = Metal = lung and large intestine Summer = Fire = heart and peridiums, small intestine and thermostat No matter what dis-ease occurs in the body if you can find and treat a person’s element or weak link it will have a profound effect on the client. These elements relate to cycles also which is why people go for acupuncture as a preventative medicine, if you boost the element at the beginning of the season you help their function for that season. It is the element which gives us another part of the jigsaw as you always treat these organs, they will always be the foundation of the treatment. To give an example of a persons wood element being out of balance. In excess they might be constantly planning and making rash decisions, or indeed if the energy is deficient the client may have no motivation and find decision making very difficult. When balance is brought to the liver and gall bladder clients find themselves taking on a complete new direction. This is the time in treatment where diet is discussed as all the organs need different tastes and foods. Fuelling the body correctly is paramount to good health, however if, for example, the spleen energy is very low the client will crave sweet food particularly in the evening and night and possibly won’t feel like a breakfast in the morning, which between 7am and 9am is when the digestive systems is best supported. By treating the earth element the client finds it much easier to control their food, and sugar cravings subside.
The Meridian System. There are 14 main body meridians, 12 paired and 2 single meridians which are like tiny channels running up and down the front and back of the body, intensely through the organ systems and externally on the body. It is along these lines of energy that acupuncture points are located. This energy flow affects how we fell, how we think and the overall condition of our health situation. For example ‘stagnation’ of energy, like a kink in a hosepipe, can back up energy and cause pain in an organ or indeed on a joint, or back and neck area.
Treatment. There are over 400 acupuncture points on the body, the majority used are from the elbow down, the knee down, and lower back and neck. Acupuncture can be used for all ailments but after the case history if I feel a different therapy would be better you will be advised. The insertion of the sterile needle doesn’t hurt, you feel a sensation when the energy travels along the meridian to the point. The amount of treatments vary as to how long and severe the condition. A fair idea would be given on initial consultation, but four to six treatments will create a difference. Most G.P’s are very happy for a patient to have acupuncture, and a practitioner would never interfere with your medicine unless under your doctors supervision. Acupuncture has a clearly recorded history of more than 2,000 years but some authorities claim it has been practiced in China for 4,000 plus years. From my own experience acupuncture has successfully treated many medical conditions, however the feeling of wellness, imbalance, and harmony that a person feels is always amazing. A session of acupuncture takes 30 to 45 minutes, with the initial consultation costing €60, and follow up treatments €50. For more information call Gillian Singleton Blarney Acupuncture & Holistic Centre 087 263 6664