Acupuncture

History

Acupuncture has been firmly established in China for 2000 Years and now is widely available in the West, and has been since the 1960s.

Philosophy

Acupuncture is based on the theory that our good health depends on a life–giving force , Qi, (translated as energy) which animates the body energetically, and is concentrated in channels (meridians) which maintain the proper functioning of all of the organs. These meridians flow below the surface of the skin, and have been mapped and their energetic activity analysed by Chinese medical research teams for centuries, and even millennia.

How is acupuncture used today

Tim and Isobel treat each client as a person with a unique constitution and life history. Their presenting symptoms and conditions are then seen in the context of this complete physiological and psychological picture. When an acupuncture consultation takes place (please download questionnaire) the practitioner is looking for patterns of disharmony, where the flow of energy (Qi) is interrupted by constitutional vulnerability, by environmental or other insults to form, or by periods of life transition which prove very difficult to manage. (e.g. bereavement, redundancy, childbirth). The initial discussion covers family health (parents and grandparents), childhood and adult health history, and current metabolic systems such as sleep, appetite, activity levels, hormone regulation and gynaecological cycles. It also includes tongue and pulse diagnosis.

A full diagnosis is then mapped energetically, when each anatomical organ and its associated meridian (line of energy flow) is examined to give an analysis of the client’s health and well being. The treatment programme can then be planned by both client and practitioner.

It is necessary, if presenting symptoms are acute, for treatments to be weekly for a month or so. The effectiveness of treatment is accumulative so regular appointments work best. Less acute, and maybe more chronic conditions are treated differently. If the illness has been present for a long time, or is particularly severe, treatment will take place over a longer period. Well-established patterns of disharmony will take longer to address.

Over the thirty years that we have been practising, I would say that there are three key concepts which emerge as central to an understanding of the treatment process. They are that Chinese Medicine in general and acupuncture in particular take; 

1. An individual or holistic view of the client

2. A long term view of health maintenance and

3. A life long perspective on the prevention of illness.

The client as an individual

Each treatment protocol is particular to each client. Work to heal symptoms and conditions takes place always in the context of their own unique constitution, life history and current situation.

For example two out of three clients that we have treated in Wales present with an invasion of damp and cold, related to climate, diet and lifestyle. But each person has a different and individual response to the invasion, and therefore a different treatment, even for similar symptoms.

Long term maintenance of health

As we all approach mid and later life our own particular area of constitutional vulnerability becomes more visible, and needs more support. In the last 30 years of research in the West, from the results of over 500 controlled, randomised trials, we know that acupuncture treatments can produce the following metabolic changes:

  • Stimulates bone growth and maintains bone strength
  • Stimulates production of cortisol (anti – inflammatory)
  • Stimulates production of endorphins (and other pain modulators)
  • Moderates the blood’s clotting action
  • Regulates blood pressure levels
  • Regulates peripheral blood flow
  • Regulates the sympathetic nervous system
  • Regulates the production of serotonin (sleep and pain modulator)
  • Enhances immune response
  • Reduces allergic response

Using acupuncture to maintain an improved level of health means that if, like us, you find the onset of Autumn and/or Winter a challenge in terms immune function, respiratory or circulatory health, then you could have a background level of support in Spring, early and late Summer (Chinese Medicine recognises 5 seasons) and an increased level of support from October until the end of February. Some clients find Winter easier and need most maintenance in Spring and Summer. Again this varies with the client’s individual constitution.

Prevention of illness

Traditionally over the centuries, Chinese physicians have recommended five seasonal treatments a year to everyone from seven years of age onwards. This has been considered to be the minimal programme with which the physician can prevent the onset of illness. Each preventative treatment helps to ease us through a seasonal transition. We are all familiar with the jolt that the body feels when the warmth of Summer disappears, the equinox is past, the mist and fog descend and the nights draw in. All of the changes taking place in nature around us are also taking place in our bodies, and we need to respond to this. Acupuncture treatment helps us to move through these energetic changes in the year.

In China each seven year old child would receive a constitutional diagnosis . From this they would have a programme of special dietary advice, exercises to strengthen their structure, acupuncture treatments seasonally and herbs if needed. This would support their health as they grow to adulthood, and can prevent illness developing as a result of inherited and/or environmental factors. When the child is an adult they can make a choice to continue the preventative programme, and treatment becomes teamwork when the client and practitioner together agree changes in lifestyle, diet and exercise to accompany the different stages in our life cycle. In this way acupuncture treatment moves with the cyclical energetic changes of each season of the year, and also with the energetic changes present at the different seasons of our life.

We practise both 5 Element and TCM styles of Acupuncture in our clinic. The 5 Element model is deeply imbued with the cyclical changes of the seasons described above and is a wonderful basis for health maintenance and the prevention of chronic illness. TCM provides a complementary view of the treatment of pathogens: heat, cold, damp, dry, interior, exterior, empty and full. Chinese herbs and TCM acupuncture treatments are a powerful healing tool when used with the 5 Element system.

Acupuncture

“I have had acupuncture for more than 2 years. I see the treatment as a key part of taking responsibility for my own health and well-being. Working with Isobel is a two-way process. In many ways it is a journey of discovery in which we find patterns that help me, and ones that do not. The benefits include deeper sleep, a balanced nervous system and hormonal cycle. Above all, Isobel offers a calm, reflective style of support, with a highly skilful needle technique.”

Rachel