Acupuncture is perhaps best known for its effects on musculoskeletal issues, in fact this year’s Acupuncture Awareness week is focusing on sports injuries and has Rebecca Adlington as the ambassador.  However, did you realise that acupuncture is also useful to help keep us balanced, and to prevent illness from occurring in the first place?

In ancient China acupuncturists used to be paid throughout the year but their wages were stopped when their patients got ill – a great incentive for them to keep people healthy!

Akupunktur als AlternativmedizinAcupuncture works by the mechanism of inserting fine needles in specific points along the meridians of the body to help the qi (energy) flow smoothly.  Western scientific research tends to focus on how needling can trigger nerve impulses to release natural painkillers, the promotion of blood flow, or the anti-inflammatory effects of hormones such as oxytocin.  This research may be useful to improve our practice but, as an acupuncturist, I am more interested in how my patients are feeling and whether they recover from their pain.

If you are receiving a course of acupuncture treatment, you may find that you start to feel more connected to your body.  You will notice that first niggle in your shoulder, or see a skin rash that you may previously have ignored.  In essence, you are noticing warning signs from your body which gives you time to act before they become more serve, or chronic, conditions.

Acupuncture needles, moxa sticks and TCM herbsStress at work, hormonal changes, and a poor diet can all lead to us feeling out of balance.  But a Classical Chinese Medicine practitioner is also concerned about how the changes of seasons can affect us physically and emotionally.  As we move from one season to the next, the external energies (climate) affect our bodies – this is obvious as we feel cooler and may want to hibernate in winter, but feel more energetic in springtime.  However, there are a crucial 18 days when energies switch from one season to the next, and in Acupuncture there are some wonderful pivoting points which help us to move smoothly through these seasonal changes.  We should in theory be making this transition naturally, but if the body is out of balance, it is possible to get ‘stuck’ in the previous season and we may need a little coaxing through to the next.

Some of my patients now come for their seasonal treatments, four times a year to keep them well and balanced.  I now post on my Facebook Page when it’s the ideal time to have these treatments so that patients can book up in advance.  Alternatively, when my patients get more in tune with their bodies, they can tell when they need an acupuncture ‘pick me up’.  As with eating healthy, getting regular exercise and decent sleep, it’s important to keep your qi in balance either through internal martial arts such as Tai Qi or Qi Gong, or through having regular acupuncture sessions.  Hopefully together we can use this beautiful art of Acupuncture as the preventative medicine it was meant to be.

See this link from the British Acupuncture Council for more information about seasonal treatments.