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What is Acupuncture ?

Chinese medicine Acupuncture is a unique system of medical practice that originated in China and has been revived and developed to become one of the most sophisticated and advanced forms of treatment for a wide range of disorders. Fine needles are inserted at specific points on the body’s surface. Apart from its pain relieving and relaxing effects, acupuncture treatment restores and balances the energy system within the body, thereby enabling the body’s self-healing mechanisms to work more effectively.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

The insertion of needles at specific points, known as acupuncture points, which are found on meridians (the network of energy around the body) stimulate specific nerves which then transmit electrical impulses to the spinal cord and the brain and hence to the diseased area. The needles are so fine that there is little discomfort but for a slight tingle, known as the needle sensation. Depending on the treatment, the needles are either withdrawn immediately or left in for up to twenty or thirty minutes during which time there may be a heaviness of the limbs and a pleasant feeling of relaxation.

The operating philosophy of traditional acupuncture is that disease is caused by interrupted energy flow at specific points on the body’s surface. Acupuncture thus involves the insertion of a needle(s) at the affected point(s) in order to dissolve stagnation and blockage of the energy flow which presents itself as pain while it can also stimulate flow of energy (Qi) and harmonize energy flow in the body.

Acupuncture was developed on the understanding that there are twelve main channels, or ‘regular meridians’ running vertically across and throughout the human body connecting the internal organs. It is a tenet of acupuncture that Qi flows along these meridian lines. Qi is somewhat equivalent to the western idea of vitality or life-force.

Scientific research into acupuncture in the last 25 years has brought a general advance in the understanding of neurophysiologic and neuropharmacologic pain relief mechanisms as they relate to acupuncture (the endorphin theory, the gate theory, and DNIC (diffuse noxious inhibitory control theory). Evidence indicates that acupuncture stimulates the release of brain chemicals such as endorphins that function to relieve pain. Research shows that acupuncture strengthens the immune system, improves circulation, decreases muscle tightness, and increases joint flexibility.

Please contact Toni at her clinic, The Berkshire Health Clinic, where she runs specialised acupuncture clinics for a range of health needs. All her details are on the Contact page of the website.

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