Body Acupuncture is a therapeutic technique that has been practised for millennia and is one of the most essential parts of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). According to TCM theory, there are several channels in the body through which Qi runs. Qi, which can be understood as our vital energy, is necessary for life and for every single activity within our body. When the flow of Qi through the energy channels is disrupted, discomfort or symptoms of disease may develop. Acupuncture directly manipulates Qi accessing it through the hundreds of Acupuncture points, each with specific functions, which are found in the channels. Acupuncture aims to promote the normal flow of Qi, thus triggering natural healing processes to bring all our bodily functions back into balance. Apart from the usual needling with thin and sterilised single-use needles, other techniques that may be used in Acupuncture include electro-acupuncture, cupping, and moxibustion. The latter is an essential tool for the treatment of people with severe weakness which consists of the burning of the herb mugwort over specific points to produce a warming effect and boost energy.
Acupuncture can be used to treat specific conditions or as a preventative treatment and its effects can be felt at a mental, emotional, and physical levels. A trained acupuncturist will be able to determine the strategic points that need to be treated in order to address both the root of symptoms and the symptoms themselves so that, given the right life-style and dietary choices, the problem will be less likely to reoccur.
Different systems of Acupuncture play different roles in the treatment process. Body Acupuncture is most commonly used in the West, and can be effective for many conditions from muscular-skeletal pain to digestive and reproductive issues. Ear Acupuncture is best known as a technique used to help addiction recovery, but it is also highly effective for stress and painful conditions. Scalp Acupuncture is a more specialised type of treatment used to target symptoms of neurological origin as well as mental and emotional symptoms.
Ear or auricular Acupuncture is a specialised type of Acupuncture applied to specific points of the auricle (external ear). Much like reflexology, it works on the basis that different organs and tissues of the body can be treated through their corresponding reflex points in the ear.Ear acupuncture uses the same principles and diagnostic methods as body Acupuncture, but it wasn't developed to its current form until the 1950's. It was at this time that Dr Paul Nogier, a French neurologist, researched the ear points and developed the reflex maps that are widely used today.Specific treatment points which alleviate detoxification symptoms and cravings for drugs and alcohol were later identified in America and are now known as the National Auricular Detoxification Association (NADA) protocol.In addition to needling with small single-use needles, other methods can be used such as electro-stimulation, laser therapy, and ear seeds and magnets that help stimulate the points between treatments. Ear acupuncture can be effective on its own particularly for the treatment of addictions and musculo-skeletal pain, but it is best combined with body Acupuncture as the two treatments enhance and support each other
Scalp acupuncture consists of the insertion of needles into points on the scalp and is mostly used for the treatment of neurological and psycho-emotional symptoms. Although this acupuncture system is rooted in the Traditional Chinese Medicine theory which comprises many points on the head, since the 1960’s modern Western knowledge of the brain and its functions has influenced its development into a specialised treatment for neurological conditions. Modern Scalp Acupuncture works on treating points that are distributed along areas of the scalp that correspond to the functional divisions of the cerebral cortex. These divisions are classified according to their functional activity such as motor, sensory, auditory, visual, balance, etc. Scalp Acupuncture can thus be used to affect changes in symptoms of neurological origin affecting mobility, sensation, hearing, vision, balance, pain, and so on. This treatment is most commonly combined with body Acupuncture applied directly to the affected area of the body, as well as on points selected according to the specific Chinese Medicine diagnosis of the person. Scalp Acupuncture can be a particularly helpful adjunct to the treatment of conditions such as Parkinson's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and neuropathic pain. In China and other East Asian countries, this type of Acupuncture is widely used alongside Western medicine for stroke rehabilitation and the treatment of other neurological conditions.