Acupuncture is a means of adjusting the body’s energy (Qi) through the insertion of fine needles into carefully selected acupuncture points. These points lie on energy channels, and are directly related to specific organs and physiological functions. The needles are manipulated with a gentle action, by twirling or leaving in place for a few minutes. This stimulates the flow of energy and removes blockages so that the Qi can be dispersed and regulated. When the Qi is flowing properly throughout the body, the balance is restored and results include deep relaxation, pain relief, and healing.
The practice of acupuncture remains somewhat controversial among Westerners. Because modern scientific thought can’t explain just how acupuncture works, many refuse to believe that this ancient medicine is anything more than a bunch of mumbo jumbo. The fact that the energy pathways don’t actually correspond to any recognized body system (like the blood or nervous system) only increases people’s skepticism.
However, the National Institutes of Health in the United States have noted that many researchers are investigating the issue. Some possible theories as to just why acupuncture works include:
Changes to the central nervous system during acupuncture sessions alter the regulation of blood pressure and flow as well as body temperature.
Acupuncture stimulates the central nervous system causing neurotransmitters and neurohormones to be released, thereby boosting your body’s natural ability to heal itself.
Acupuncture reduces pain by releasing the endorphins, which naturally occur in the body’s pain control system, into the central nervous system.
Regardless of just how it works, the fact remains that it is a relatively painless procedure with minimal side effects when done by a professional.
The answer to this question is no. While having a positive state of mind helps with any type of treatment, conventional or otherwise, it is not necessary to “believe” in acupuncture for it to work. This is evidenced not only through clinical study in “non-believers”, but by the fact that animals and small children who cannot be instructed to “believe” receive relief through the use of acupuncture.
Receiving an acupuncture treatment is usually a relaxing experience. Often a patient will drift away during the session. Now that is not to say that it is devoid of sensation. But, generally the feeling is more of a tingling. Acupuncture needles do not cut the skin as regular injection needles do. Following treatment it is common for the patient to feel a tremendous sense of relaxation, and/or exhilaration.
Acupuncture is safe and without any serious side effects, one of the reasons for its acceptance. The needles themselves are fine, pre-sterilized Japanese needles and they are disposed of after each treatment.
As a member of the AFPA and ETCMA, our clinic adheres to the strict regulations and codes of ethics set down by these bodies.
There are very few situations where acupuncture is not advised. These are the most common:
If the patient has a haemophilic condition
If the patient is pregnant, in which case certain acupuncture points will be avoided
If the patient has a severe psychotic condition or is under the influence of drugs or alcohol
We use sterile, disposable Japanese needles that are discarded safely following each treatment.
The World Health Organization (WHO) lists approximately four dozen different conditions that can legitimately be treated by acupuncture. The most common uses for acupuncture in the West include: Pain Management, Asthma, Drug Abuse, Alcoholism, Smoking, Stroke, Gastrointestinal Disorders, Gynaecological and Obstetric Problems, and Sexual Problems. For further information on the conditions, please click here
The total number of treatments required to effect change in a condition varies dependent upon the disease, and it’s severity, the duration of the illness, the frequency of the treatments and the patient themself. Consultation will offer the best guide for the length of treatment. However, as a rough guideline, the maximum benefit is usually obtained after approximately six treatments at weekly intervals. On occasions, follow-up treatments may be advised to prevent recurrence.
As previously mentioned, acupuncture is an extremely safe method of treatment, and as such, side effects and complications are extremely rare when treated by an experienced, licensed practitioner. However, a small number of patients do have brief reactions to the procedure, which may include nausea and light-headedness. As in any matter pertaining to health, any concerns should be discussed with the practitioner prior to treatment and following treatment to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Yes, children can receive acupuncture and often have excellent results with this treatment. However, in cases where the children are uneasy about the needles, a practitioner may choose to use an acupressure treatment (massage of the acupoints), as opposed to acupuncture.
Treatments at New Leaf Acupuncture Clinic, Dublin, are recognised by private health insurers including GloHealth, Laya, VHI Healthcare, AVIVA and HSF Health plan, as well as ESB and Garda Medical Schemes and others. Please check your individual policy details.