How it works
As mentioned previously, acupuncture theory states that the vital force, or Ch’i, circulates from one organ of the body to another along pathways termed meridians.
There are twelve main meridians, each feeding one of the main organs or functions of the body. In order to be healthy in body, mind and spirit the energy within these meridians must be balanced and harmonious. In all illness the energy is out of balance. The pain, or symptom, is a warning or distress signal notifying us of this imbalance, be it due to a physical, emotional, mental or spiritual cause.
Ultra fine needles are inserted close to the surface of the skin along these meridians at chosen acupuncture points. The points are not always close to the part of the body where the person experiences the problem. For example, although one might suffer from headaches, needles may be inserted in your foot or hand.
To assess a person’s energy in the meridians, the practitioner will feel a person’s pulses on both wrists, as well as looking at your tongue. Taking the pulses of the twelve meridians is a key way to access the state of a person’s energy, and indicates the changes brought about by treatment.
Moxabustion is another form of treatment used in acupuncture, where points may need to be heated. The commonest way to do this is by using a small cone of moxa on the point. Moxa is made from the stripped and dried leaves of a Chinese mugwort-like herb called Artemesia vulgaris latiflora. It has a warming, nourishing effect upon the Ch’i energy and, where this effect is most appropriate, depending on the nature of the imbalance, it may be used instead of needles, but more often prior to needling where heat would be beneficial.
The first benefits noticed vary a good deal, depending on the severity of the disorder and on the state of the patient. Some feel changes right from the first treatment but usually one would expect to feel benefit within four to five treatments. These first benefits are not necessarily improvements in the symptoms themselves. Often a patient feels better able to relax, has more vitality, feels more at peace, or feels more uplifted and generally better in themselves. All these are positive signs that the Ch’i energy is being restored to balance; this will then naturally be followed by improvements in the symptoms.
Acupuncture treatment aims to correct any imbalance in the energy of a person and restore it to its natural state and flow, and to re-establish its rhythm with the natural cycles of day and night, the seasons, the time of day. As the energy imbalances are corrected, the person’s body, mind and spirit start to heal.