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Common steps and sub-activities

Acupuncture

Acupuncture

I am deeply indebted to Tamzin Freeman for the following very comprehensive description of acupuncture and its uses.

Tamzin is an acupuncturist, kinesiologist and EFT practitioner, registered with the British Acupuncture Council. She practices in West London.

Contact Tamzin Freeman: 020 7370 4693 tamzin@tamzinfreeman.co.uk

Introduction and background

Acupuncture originated in China over two thousand years ago, as a method to maintain a healthy body and mind. Acupuncture today is still practiced according to the classics of this time.

Acupuncture is a form of energy medicine. It proposes Energy, or qi (pronounced "chee"), runs through the body along channels called meridians, and that illness occurs when the energy flow is disrupted.  The acupuncturist stimulates precise points on the meridians [trigger points] to restore balance and a healthy flow of energy.

Each meridian is named according to the organ whose energy influences it, so the Liver channel, Gall Bladder channel, Stomach channel, Heart channel, etc.

For each organ and meridian there are physiological functions and emotional patterns. This means acupuncture points on certain acupuncture channels are implicated with certain conditions. So for example, the Liver in Chinese Medicine facilitates the smooth flow of energy around the body. Liver disharmony, as a symptom, can be seen in liver disease, but also includes eye problems, menstrual pain, headaches, even insomnia; emotionally it can manifest as depression, or the wound-up or teary feelings, pre-menstrually.

Western scientists are starting to identify some of the physiological mechanisms at work, and there's evidence that the insertion of needles into designated acupuncture points speeds the conduction of electromagnetic signals within the body. These signals may increase the flow of endorphins and other pain-relieving chemicals, as well as immune system cells, which aid healing.

What kind of complaints are treated by acupuncture?

Since acupuncture rebalances the body, and proposes that if the body is in perfect balance, then there will be no illness – acupuncture should aid any symptom.

NICE(National Institute of Clinical Excellence) recommend acupuncture for back pain and migraine.

WHO (The World Health Oragnisation) lists the following diseases or symptoms for which acupuncture has proven to be effective:

1. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture has been proved-through controlled trials-to be an effective treatment:

  • Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy
    Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
    Biliary colic
    Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
    Dysentery, acute bacillary
    Dysmenorrhoea, primary
    Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)
    Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
    Headache
    Hypertension, essential
    Hypotension, primary
    Induction of labour
    Knee pain
    Leukopenia
    Low back pain
    Malposition of fetus, correction of
    Morning sickness
    Nausea and vomiting
    Neck pain
    Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction)
    Periarthritis of shoulder
    Postoperative pain
    Renal colic
    Rheumatoid arthritis
    Sciatica
    Sprain
    Stroke
    Tennis elbow

2. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which the therapeutic effect of acupuncture has been shown but for which further proof is needed: 

  • Abdominal pain (in acute gastroenteritis or due to gastrointestinal spasm)
    Acne vulgaris
    Alcohol dependence and detoxification
    Bell’s palsy
    Bronchial asthma
    Cancer pain
    Cardiac neurosis
    Cholecystitis, chronic, with acute exacerbation
    Cholelithiasis
    Competition stress syndrome
    Craniocerebral injury, closed
    Diabetes mellitus, non-insulin-dependent
    Earache
    Epidemic haemorrhagic fever
    Epistaxis, simple (without generalized or local disease)
    Eye pain due to subconjunctival injection
    Female infertility
    Facial spasm
    Female urethral syndrome
    Fibromyalgia and fasciitis
    Gastrokinetic disturbance
    Gouty arthritis
    Hepatitis B virus carrier status
    Herpes zoster (human (alpha) herpesvirus 3)
    Hyperlipaemia
    Hypo-ovarianism
    Insomnia
    Labour pain
    Lactation, deficiency
    Male sexual dysfunction, non-organic
    Ménière disease
    Neuralgia, post-herpetic
    Neurodermatitis
    Obesity
    Opium, cocaine and heroin dependence
    Osteoarthritis
    Pain due to endoscopic examination
    Pain in thromboangiitis obliterans
    Polycystic ovary syndrome (Stein-Leventhal syndrome)
    Postextubation in children
    Postoperative convalescence
    Premenstrual syndrome
    Prostatitis, chronic
    Pruritus
    Radicular and pseudoradicular pain syndrome
    Raynaud syndrome, primary
    Recurrent lower urinary-tract infection
    Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
    Retention of urine, traumatic
    Schizophrenia
    Sialism, drug-induced
    Sjögren syndrome
    Sore throat (including tonsillitis)
    Spine pain, acute
    Stiff neck
    Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
    Tietze syndrome
    Tobacco dependence
    Tourette syndrome
    Ulcerative colitis, chronic
    Urolithiasis
    Vascular dementia
    Whooping cough (pertussis)

3. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which there are only individual controlled trials reporting some therapeutic effects, but for which acupuncture is worth trying because treatment by conventional and other therapies is difficult:

  • Chloasma
    Choroidopathy, central serous
    Colour blindness
    Deafness
    Hypophrenia
    Irritable colon syndrome
    Neuropathic bladder in spinal cord injury
    Pulmonary heart disease, chronic
    Small airway obstruction

4. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture may be tried provided the practitioner has special modern medical knowledge and adequate monitoring equipment: 

  • Breathlessness in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
    Coma
    Convulsions in infants
    Coronary heart disease (angina pectoris)
    Diarrhoea in infants and young children
    Encephalitis, viral, in children, late stage
    Paralysis, progressive bulbar and pseudobulbar

What to expect from an acupuncture session

The acupuncturist will take a medical history, and ask questions about your current complaint. They will take your pulse (there are three different pulse positions in each wrist which represent the energy of different organs). They will look at your tongue, (different parts of the tongue represent different organs).

Based on this assessment the acupuncturist will use different acupuncture points to treat your symptoms.

What does it feel like?

You may feel a dull ache, or a tingle when the acupuncture needle is inserted. It is about the width of a shaft of hair – much finer than medical needles.

Most patients will feel “floaty” or very relaxed once the pins are in – some may go to sleep.

What to expect from treatment

You will generally notice a difference from just one treatment, both physically and emotionally. For some, the effect is immediate, for others it may take 24-48 hours to take effect.

Depending on symptoms a series of treatments are recommended, each treatment building on the next.

Some people with very busy lives have regular treatment to stay both mentally and physically well.

References and more information

The British Acupuncture Council is the regulating body in the UK. They provide a list of qualified acupuncturists (a highly demanding, rigorous training of over 3,600 hours), they also provide further research on acupuncture for specific conditions

 

Alice through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll

It would have been all the better, as it seemed to Alice, if she had got some one else to dress her, she was so dreadfully untidy. 'Every single thing's crooked,' Alice thought to herself, 'and she's all over pins!--may I put your shawl straight for you?' she added aloud.

'I don't know what's the matter with it!' the Queen said, in a melancholy voice. 'It's out of temper, I think. I've pinned it here, and I've pinned it there, but there's no pleasing it!'

'It CAN'T go straight, you know, if you pin it all on one side,' Alice said, as she gently put it right for her; 'and, dear me, what a state your hair is in!'

'The brush has got entangled in it!' the Queen said with a sigh. 'And I lost the comb yesterday.'

Alice carefully released the brush, and did her best to get the hair into order. 'Come, you look rather better now!' she said, after altering most of the pins. 'But really you should have a lady's maid!'

'I'm sure I'll take you with pleasure!' the Queen said. 'Twopence a week, and jam every other day.'

Observations

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