Acupuncture is a way of healing which has been practised in the
East for thousands of years; China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam have
all used Acupuncture extensively and continue to do so to the present
day. Acupuncture like all Oriental medicine looks at and
treats the whole person, always taking into consideration their
spiritual, mental and physical wellbeing.
The aim of Acupuncture is to improve the overall condition of
the patient and not just a specific symptom. One may find that
during a course of treatment for one illness, the patient will feel a
benefit in other areas as they feel more balanced and healthy overall.
This is why Acupuncture is described as a preventative medicine,
because it brings back into balance issues which may be in the
process manifesting as an illness, but because they have been
stopped early they do not become a full blown problem and thereby
avoid turning into a possible future health issue.
Ancient Chinese medical explanations of how Acupuncture
works, describe Acupuncture working directly with the body's "Qi"
(pronounced "Chee"). Qi is energy. It moves through the body in
channels called "Meridians". Qi should flow through the body
smoothly; through the arms, legs, body and head. If there is an
imbalance (weakness or blockage) in this flow, this can lead to illness
There is no one conclusive modern scientific explanation of how Acupuncture works, however, recent research has shown a natural pain relieving chemical called Adenosine being released by the body in large amounts after Acupuncture needles have been inserted and gently manipulated. Adenosine travels through the blood system around the body and is found in very high levels around the areas of needle insertion. This may be what the ancient doctors of China were describing, except they were using descriptions and terminology available to them at the time, without the advantage of having modern scientific instruments to complete research or prove/disprove their theories, except through deduction and observation of clinical results.
Disturbances in the meridians can be caused by any one factor, or a combination of many. This can happen during one event, such as a car accident (which may have an immediate and obvious affect on the body), or may be accumulative over many years; like RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) or poor biomechanics/posture. The causes of illness need not be purely physical, they can be emotional too; stress, grief, anger, frustration or fear can all cause physical illness or become issues in themselves which require considerate care.
Diet and the environment play a big part in how a person may feel. Being "in-tune" with the seasons through appropriate treatment, diet and exercise may help to prevent or reduce the affects of seasonally related symptoms, such as Hay fever or S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and also how people can feel in themselves in general.
Moxa (Artemisiae Argyi Folium, Ai Ye) is a herb which is set alight and used to heat acupoints. Chinese moxa is usually found in cigar shaped rolls or it can be used loose. Moxa is used to gently heat small areas of the body (a form of heat treatment) to encourage the flow of blood circulation in the local area and/or throughout the whole body. The arrival of new blood flow may encourage speedier healing processes if applied to a sight of injury and provide temporary comfort to areas of poor circulation and chronic pain.
Like moxa, cups (specially made glass cups/bowls) can be used alone or in combination with Acupuncture. A vacuum is created inside the cup, then the cup is placed on the skin on acupoints. This draws the skin and muscle tissue towards the centre of the cup, strongly pulling blood and lymph through the tissues to improve fluid movement in areas of poor circulation.
Cups are a very safe form of treatment for children and adults. They are left on the patient between 5-20 minutes depending upon the location on the body, complaint being treated and skin type.