Exploring the ancient art of Chinese medicine: acupuncture

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When we’re in pain, unwell or not quite right, most of us head straight to the medicine cabinet. We treat the symptoms and feel ‘okay’ again, but we don’t address the root of the problem. Instead of going for a quick fix next time you’re unwell, why not try acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that treats the root of the problem. TCM has been practised for over 5000 years and provides a long term approach to health and wellbeing. No wonder so many people swear by it!

Old is gold, tested and true

TCM is an umbrella term for a range of therapies like acupuncture, which are all natural, holistic and safe. While these therapies all unique, they follow the same overarching set of beliefs. Specifically,  if your body is in balance and in a state of harmony, good health will follow.

But what does ‘balance’ and ‘harmony’ mean?

Traditional Chinese Medicine believes a life forced called Qi (pronounced ‘Chi’) flows through the meridians in our bodies. Blocked or disrupted Qi may result in poor health. TCM also believes the body is comprised of five elements: water, wood, fire, metal and earth. Each element corresponds with organs and systems in the body. By focusing on these five elements and using techniques to restore the flow of Qi, TCM treats health problems from the ground up.

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So what is acupuncture?

Acupuncture uses very fine needles to stimulate different acupoints on the body. By stimulating the acupoints, a TCM practitioner can access, restore and correct the flow of Qi.

Each acupoint links to a specific bodily system. However, the acupoints are not necessarily close, in proximity, to these systems. For example, stimulating an acupoint on the hand can work to reduce nausea. The stimulation of certain points can also increase blood flow to an area, which assists with healing.

So who benefits?

People turn to acupuncture to treat a wide variety of conditions or to complement conventional treatment. Conan Cole, doctor of TCM and acupuncture from GL Natural Healthcare, said “People are often surprised at how broad the applications of acupuncture can be.” While Conan commonly treats musculoskeletal conditions, chronic pain and migraines, he said “many metabolic diseases like diabetes and heart conditions can also be treated with acupuncture.”

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Conan also spoke about how acupuncture can be a life-saver when it comes to bad period pains. “One of the first things we learn in our gynaecological training is that bad period pains are not normal and can be treated through acupuncture.”

Acupuncture may also be effective in treating mental health conditions like depression and chronic fatigue. Additionally, acupuncture can help maintain your overall health and wellbeing. This means you don’t need to be feeling unwell or in pain to consult an acupuncturist.

But, needles are scary!

The word ‘needle’ sets off alarm bells, which is why so many of us never experience the wonder of acupuncture. But don’t worry! When administered properly by an experienced acupuncturist, acupuncture doesn’t hurt. It’s not like having blood drawn! In fact, many people (including myself!) feel sleepy as they descend into a state of deep relaxation during treatment. It was pure bliss for me! As Conan said, “It amazed me when I first started treating people. You put needles in their body and they’re worried about it being painful, but people fall asleep. They snore in the rooms, they’re that relaxed.”

If you’re looking for acupuncture or TCM in Melbourne, book an appointment with GL Natural Healthcare or with other experienced practitioners on Avaana today!

An experienced writer and media and communications professional, DW is the chief content officer at Avaana. She loves dogs and basketball. As a classically trained dancer, DW credits her wellbeing to alternative therapies.

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