Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has existed for 5000 years, and Acupuncture is one of the most recognisable treatment methods of this ancient, holistic medical system. TCM views us as one with our environment, influenced by external factors such as the seasons and weather, as well as our emotions, diet and sleep patterns.
Qi, loosely translated as vital energy, is the life force behind the movement and function of our body and all our organs. In the healthy individual, various forms of Qi exist alongside each other in harmony – with a balance of Yin and Yang being central to our wellbeing. Qi flows through 12 primary meridians and 8 extraordinary vessels, following the body’s natural rhythms in what is referred to as the ‘horary’ clock. When the flow of Qi is disrupted, our body becomes unbalanced, resulting in illness or pain.
The insertion of fine needles at specific points along the meridians is one way of controlling the flow of Qi. Pain and disease arise when there is a stagnation of Qi, deficiency of Qi, or the presence of pathogenic Qi. Acupuncture manipulates the Qi in our body to promote wellness: it works by encouraging free flow where there is stagnation, supplementing Qi where there is deficiency, and expelling external pathogenic factors when they have invaded the body. In a typical TCM consultation, a Chinese Medicine doctor will utilise the traditional ‘four examinations’ to help form a diagnosis and treatment plan – inspection, listening, inquiry and palpation. During this process, the practitioner will inspect the patient’s tongue and take their pulse in six different positions on the wrists.