What is acupuncture?
A course of acupuncture usually creates longer lasting pain relief than when a single treatment is used.
Traditional acupuncture is based on the belief that an energy, or “life force”, flows through the body in channels called meridians. This life force is known as Qi (pronounced “chee”).
Practitioners who use acupuncture in the traditional way believe that when Qi does not flow freely through the body, this can cause illness. They also believe acupuncture can restore the flow of Qi, and so restore health.
Acupuncture practitioners, or acupuncturists, use acupuncture to treat a wide range of health conditions.
Acupuncture can be used as a treatment to relieve:
* Chronic tension-type headaches
Acupuncture is also often used to treat other musculoskeletal conditions (of the bones and muscles) and pain conditions, including:
- * Chronic pain, such as neck pain
- * Joint pain
- * Dental pain
- * Postoperative pain.
How acupuncture is performed
An initial acupuncture session usually lasts 20 minutes to 1 hour and will begin with an assessment of your general health, medical history and a physical examination, followed by insertion of the acupuncture needles.
The needles are inserted into specific places on the body, these are known as acupuncture points.
During the session, you’ll usually be asked to sit or lie down. You may also be asked to remove some clothes so the practitioner can access certain parts of your body.
The needles used are very fine and are usually a few inches long. They are single-use, pre-sterilised needles that are disposed of immediately after use.
The needles are placed at specific points that the practitioner will choose based on your condition. Several points may be used during a typical session, depending on the number of symptoms you have.
The needles may be inserted just under the skin, or deeper so they reach muscle. Once the needles are in place, they are left in position from a few minutes up to 30 minutes.
You may feel a tingling or a dull ache when the needles are inserted but you should not experience any significant pain. If you do, you should let your practitioner know straight away.
It is usually recommended that a course of treatment consists of several separate sessions, but this can vary.
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