What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture has been part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for thousands of years. It involves inserting very fine needles into specific points on the skin in order to allow the flow of energy to be restored, and therefore ease pain and allow for healing and restoration of proper function.  

The foundation of Chinese acupuncture is about one of balance, Yin and Yang polarity and an energy force called Qi. This energy, or life force, circulates around the body through invisible channels called meridians. If the flow of Qi in the meridians is disrupted, then disease and pain may follow. By inserting fine needles into particular acupuncture meridians , and encouraging movement of qi in the channel the disruption can be corrected, and pain relieved.

Effectiveness of acupuncture

The world health organisation has found that acupuncture can be effective in treating a range of disorders in areas including:

  • Digestive – colitis, constipation, diarrhoea, gastritis, ulcers
  • Emotional – anxiety, depression
  • Gynaecological – heavy menstrual bleeding, painful periods, menopausal symptoms, pre-menstrual syndrome
  • Musculoskeletal – back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, tennis elbow and whiplash
  • Neurological – Bell’s palsy, carpal tunnel syndrome, headache, Meniere’s disease, migraine, pain, paralysis, shingles
  • Respiratory – asthma, bronchitis, common cold, hay fever
  • Vascular – haemorrhoids, high blood pressure, varicose veins
  • General – chronic fatigue syndrome, giving up smoking, muscle injuries, obesity, stress management, tiredness, travel sickness.

Clinical evidence of effectiveness of acupuncture

In a recent study held at several Melbourne public hospitals, including the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, it was found the acupuncture was far more efficient as a pain killer that any other technique or drug. 

The British National Health Service carried out a systematic review of the evidence for the use of acupuncture to treat or manage a range of disorders. They found that there was evidence that acupuncture is effective to treat dental pain, jaw pain and to control nausea after operations and chemotherapy treatment.

For many conditions where acupuncture can be used, the evidence has not been systematically reviewed, or the current scientific evidence to prove that it is effective is not yet established.

Clinical guidelines published in many different countries have found that acupuncture is moderately helpful in a wide range of conditions, particularly those which involve pain.

How acupuncture is performed

At Nourishlife we use single use disposable needles of high quality and very fine gauge.  Depending on the location of the treatment, you will either sit or lie down. Properly done, acupuncture is painless because the needles are very fine (around 0.18 mm wide). When the needles are inserted, you may feel mild tingling around the site, warmth or heaviness, or even nothing at all.

What to expect from acupuncture

The main thing you should expect is for there to be a shift in your pain.  Either dulled or gone completely.  You will normally feel relaxed and refreshed, but specific responses depend on each person. For instance, some people feel energised, while others feel sleepy. 
The number of treatments you need depends on your condition. In most cases, people experience a reduction in symptoms within a few sessions. The idea of acupuncture is to restore the natural balance of energy inside your body. Once the balance is restored, the body can take care of itself and no further treatments are necessary.

needles entering the skin