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What is Acupuncture and What Conditions Does it Help Manage?

Pregnant patient receiving acupuncture

What is Acupuncture and How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture is an ancient traditional Chinese medicine therapy that involves inserting thin, single-use needles into specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow or “Qi”. The belief is that energy circulates throughout the body, from our head to our feet. When we are in good health, this energy flows unobstructed along meridian pathways around the body, connecting with organs, muscles and tissues. When this flow of energy is disrupted, disease, pain or unwanted symptoms can occur. Acupuncture is used to balance this flow of energy, to stimulate our body’s natural ability to heal.

From a western medical point of view, when needles are inserted, they stimulate the central nervous system to release chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord or brain. For example, acupuncture can cause the release of endorphins, which can alter or eliminate the message of pain being sent to the brain. The release of these “feel-good” chemicals helps patients feel better physically and emotionally. Research has also shown that acupuncture improves blood flow to various body tissues helping with recovery and functionality of different body systems. It is a safe, effective and natural (drug-free) practice, which addresses a person’s physical, emotional, mental and environmental influences.

What Conditions Does Acupuncture Help Manage?

The benefits of acupuncture have been endorsed by the World Health Organisation and shown through research into many conditions:

· Women's health: painful/irregular periods, endometriosis, fertility, IVF support, peri-menopause.

· Pregnancy: back and pelvic pain, labour pain, breech baby, pre-conception care.

· Musculoskeletal: acute and chronic pain.

· Respiratory: asthma, allergic rhinitis.

· Gastrointestinal: obesity, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome.

· Neurological: stroke, headaches, migraine.

· Mental health: anxiety, depression, insomnia, stress.

Many people also report experiencing pain relief, reduced stress, improved sleep, and enhanced overall well-being after acupuncture.

The beauty of traditional Chinese medicine is that it looks at every person as an individual and seeks to treat the unwanted symptoms, as well as the underlying cause to reduce the risk of the symptoms returning. Regular maintenance acupuncture also promotes good health, reducing the chance of getting ill. Prevention is the best medicine.

Who are Candidates for Acupuncture?

There is no age limitation on who can benefit from acupuncture. Children will be treated slightly differently to adults, however they can still benefit from the therapy.

Acupuncture is mainly utilised by those who have illnesses, pain or negative symptoms. However, it is also very useful for health enhancement, that is, use acupuncture regularly as a preventative, rather than letting conditions take hold.

How Does an Acupuncture Session Work and What Does It Feel Like?

Acupuncture sessions generally run for 40 to 55 minutes. After having a detailed conversation about your health concerns and health history, you’ll lay on a padded table. Depending on your condition you may have cupping, acupuncture or massage. The number of needles used will be dependent on what you are being treated for and your constitution. But on average around 10 to 12 needles will be used, and they will be in place for around 20 minutes.

Most patients report feeling minimal pain as the needle is inserted. Some patients feel a dull ache or an electrical sensation during a treatment, which is healing energy moving through the body. Once the needles are placed, you will then have a 20 minutes to relax. It’s a lovely way to take time out of your day, with many patients falling asleep.

In addition, many treatments include suggestions on using acupressure at home or implementing diet and lifestyle changes. Acupuncture will work better if you instigate suggested lifestyle changes.

How Often Do I Need Acupuncture?

It’s much like going to the gym, one session won’t be enough. You need to build a plan of regular treatments. You can have acupuncture sessions too far apart, but you can never have them too close together. Ideally, you’d start with one or two sessions per week for a few weeks to get on top of your symptoms, and then space out treatments in discussion with your practitioner as your symptoms improve.

Is Acupuncture Safe & Effective?

Yes. Acupuncture is a simple, yet effective treatment that does not cause harm to patients when it is performed correctly by a trained professional. It is safe in that we use sterile, single-use needles, with clean and safe surroundings and processes. Claire has intimate knowledge of the body and is always safe with her needle location and techniques.

Acupuncture is used to treat many conditions, without having to resort to chemical pharmaceuticals. While this may take a bit longer as we are dealing with the body’s natural flow, it is attractive in that it is a natural therapy, useful for chronic or acute problems. Acupuncture helps patients overcome many health issues in a safer, more natural way.

Is Acupuncture Subsidised in NZ?

In New Zealand, acupuncture may be subsidised by ACC when treatment is being sort for an injury that resulted from an accident. Once a claim has been approved by ACC, you can receive subsided acupuncture through a registered ACC treatment provider, such as Bloom Acupuncture. Currently, up to twelve acupuncture sessions many be possible over a twelve-week period, depending on how the condition progresses.

How Do I Learn More About Acupuncture?

Schedule a free 15-minute phone/video call with Claire at Bloom Acupuncture, Auckland, if you’d like to discuss how we may be able to help you and answer any questions you may have. Or, if you are ready to get going on your journey to health, schedule an initial appointment where we will discuss your health history and current health concerns, create a treatment plan for you, and give you your first treatment. This may include acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, cupping or massage, as required. Click to BOOK NOW.

About Claire Solomon, Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist at Bloom Acupuncture, Auckland

After graduating from the New Zealand School of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine in Auckland, with a Bachelors in Health Sciences (Acupuncture) and a Diploma in Chinese Herbal Medicine, Claire began treating patients and aiding care in central Auckland. She has a passion and focus on women’s health, from menstrual cycle issues to fertility, pregnancy and post-partum, and through to menopause. On top of this she loves helping people get better from daily issues such as headaches, insomnia, pain or stress. “I love using acupuncture and Chinese Medicine to assist my patients getting to a balanced state, so they can get on with their lives and achieve their goals in a stronger, healthier and happier way”.


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