Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an ancient system of healing that has been practised for thousands of years. The philosophy and practice of TCM includes acupuncture, herbal medicine, dietary therapy and massage.

What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is based on a Chinese system of healing which balances energy flow (qi) in meridians all over the body. Very fine stainless steel needles are inserted into acupuncture points along the meridians. This stimulates the body to begin its own healing processes. Pain is often blocked qi, fatigue may be low qi and nausea and vomiting may indicate that the qi is flowing upwards instead of downwards in the stomach meridian. The aim of acupuncture is to remove any imbalances in the body and encourage the qi to flow smoothly.

Treatment Choices
  • Acupuncture body needles is the usual treatment given. Tiny needles or seeds on plasters may also be inserted on points in the ear.
  • Moxibustion, which is warming of the acupuncture point with a Chinese herb called artemesia vulgaris. This may be done on the needle or over the acupuncture point.
  • Electro-stimulation of the acupuncture needles.
  • Cupping where glass cups are sucked onto the skin.
  • Diode treatment using an infrared light. Useful for children.
Is it painful?
You may not feel the needles as they are inserted through the skin. However, once the needles are in the acupuncture point, there may be a sensation of “difference”. You may experience heaviness, numbness or an electric sensation. This may be experienced at the needle site or travelling up or down the acupuncture meridian. This means the qi has “arrived” from the meridian to the acupuncture point.

How many times will I need to come?
The number of treatments will vary depending on whether the condition is acute (short term) or chronic (long term). A usual course of treatment will vary from 3 – 10 treatments, usually at weekly intervals. If you are coming for fertility reasons you may need to come weekly for a number of months.

What about side effects?
You may feel a little “spacey”, sleepy or very calm after a treatment. Bruising at the needle site is uncommon, but may occur. Rare accidents such as puncturing an internal organ (e.g. the lung) have been recorded.

(The Vital Meridian, A Bensoussan, 1997)