Acupuncture is the most well-known aspect of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and may be used alone or in conjunction with herbal medicine, moxibustion (the heating of specific acupuncture points using the herb Artemisia), or tui na (Chinese massage). It is likely that the acupuncture practitioner will also offer dietary and lifestyle advice or suggest a course of exercise.
Each of the organs of the body has its own associated channel or pathway of energy. These are often referred to as meridians. It is along these channels that Qi (energy or life force) flows, nourishing the body and allowing it to function smoothly and efficiently. Each of the channels is associated with a specific organ of the body, and at some point along its pathway will connect with that organ. Any disruption or blockage of the flow of Qi along the meridians will in time affect the associated organ, resulting, for example, in decreased function or pain. With acupuncture, very fine needles are inserted into points along the meridians with the aim of correcting this flow of Qi, thereby restoring balance and harmony within the body.
Every aspect of the patient’s life is considered by the practitioner before the points are selected – sometimes it may be impossible to change someone’s life circumstance, but by using acupuncture the person may be strengthened so that they are more easily able to deal with what life brings their way.
Acupuncture is widely known for its effectiveness in treating musculoskeletal injuries, but has traditionally been used in the treatment of respiratory, digestive, gynaecological, and other chronic conditions.
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