What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a gentle and relaxing treatment that employs the use of sterilised, disposable and very fine needles inserted along meridians (or channels) to influence change in the body. Acupuncture has been practiced for over 2000 years in China; it became more popular in the western world in the 1900s. While the classical theory behind acupuncture has gradually evolved over that time, acupuncturists today are also trained in modern health science and high-level infection control to best serve our patients.
What is a Registered Acupuncturist?
Today in Australia, acupuncturists must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Anyone not registered with AHPRA as an acupuncturist, cannot use the title of ‘acupuncturist’. To be eligible for registration, your acupuncturist must complete an approved Bachelor degree program with hundreds of hours of supervised clinical acupuncture practice. This ensures you, as the patient, are in well trained hands.
Is there any research to support the use of acupuncture?
Acupuncture has been the subject of over 10 000 research trials according to the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. Researchers have been studying the mechanism of acupuncture and the health effects it has on the body. The Acupuncture Evidence Project found that ‘it is no longer possible to say that the effectiveness of acupuncture can be attributed to the placebo effect or that it is useful only for musculoskeletal pain’; it lists eight conditions for which acupuncture has strong evidence and a further thirty-eight conditions for which there is evidence of positive effect.
What is the traditional view of how acupuncture works?
Chinese medical theory holds that acupuncture works by normalizing the free flow of qi (commonly translated as ‘vital energy’), blood and body fluids throughout the body by accessing the meridians. A patient’s symptoms are addressed by attempting to remedy local or systemic accumulations or deficiencies in the meridians. Pain is considered to indicate blockage or stagnation of the flow of qi, blood and/or body fluids. The delicate balance between qi and blood is of primary concern in Chinese medical theory to maintain good health. You could consider the meridian system to be similar to a traffic network of roads; a city functions much more efficiently when the traffic on its roads runs smoothly without congestion.
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