What is Acupuncture?
Rooted in the rich history of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is the practice of inserting fine needles into specific points on the body to illicit healing, combat ill health and promote harmony and internal equilibrium. It is used also as preventative medicine; to help maintain health and wellbeing and to allay the onset or development of disease.
Acupuncture is subject to well-developed protocols and undertaken only after a comprehensive evaluation of a person's overall health and functioning has been undertaken. This diagnostic process provides the basis for assigning appropriate 'treatment principles', which in turn form the foundation of a truly holistic treatment, and tailored to the specific needs of the individual. Whilst contrasting with modern Western medicine in process and understanding, acupuncture will invariably, complement rather than contradict a given conventional treatment. In some instances, it may prove so beneficial that a reduction or even cessation of conventional medication may be possible.
The diagnostic evaluation is underpinned by a theoretical framework, which is the product of literally thousands of years of careful observation and analysis. As greater knowledge has been gained over time, appropriate adaptation of techniques have been developed. It could be argued that acupuncture, as a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine, has perhaps one of the longest trials of any system of medicine to date. It is because of this rich history that acupuncturists have developed procedures, which have empirical value in the treatment and management of a wide range of both physical and emotional conditions.
The choice of points in any given treatment, and also the manner in which they are influenced, is not general or arbitrary, but specific to a person's needs and the presentation of their symptoms. Treatment is both differential and empirical; whilst a group of individuals may present with a common symptom (or disease according to western medicine), the acupuncturist's diagnosis may highlight quite contrasting pathologies and in turn, recommend different treatments. However, points may also be chosen because of their empirical value. Thus patients with different pathologies might receive treatment in seemingly common points in addition to receiving treatment on points specific to their circumstances.