A detailed overview of the principles and theories behind acupuncture and how it is used to treat a variety of conditions, including an at home alternative
The healing art of acupuncture
The ancient art of Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on the philosophy of balancing the internal body organs and the external elements of earth, fire, water, wood and metal. To help achieve this balance, one of the main treatment methods of choice is acupuncture. Acupuncture involves the insertion of extremely thin needles into very specific points on the body for the purpose of simulating the body’s natural innate healing response to promote health and wellbeing and to treat various illnesses and conditions. If you’re not a fan of needles, don’t rule out this modality yet, keep reading for a needle free version that can give you exceptional results from the comfort of your own home.
12 Meridians - the key to acupuncture healing
To understand how these little needles can have this healing effect, it’s important to discuss the concept of meridians. According to the philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are 12 primary meridians which run throughout the body. These meridians run up and down the front and back of the body, into the arms and legs and even over the head and into the face, freaky right!?!? 😳 Each meridian represents a different bodily organ or system and within these meridians, energy, known as Qi, flows to bring life force to each of these organs and systems within our body.
The Traditional Chinese Medicine belief is that when Qi is out of balance or becomes blocked, pain and illness can ensue. To treat these blockages acupuncture needles are placed along these meridians, in specific locations, for the purpose of balancing and unblocking the flow of this Qi energy, which results in health and vitality for the recipient….pick me, pick me!!!
Traditionally acupuncture has been used to treat a wide range of illnesses and conditions, including chronic, ongoing pain, reproductive issues, digestive disorders, headaches, addictions and even mental health conditions, in fact the World Health Organisation recommends the use of acupuncture for over 100 conditions. Check out this list below to see if perhaps this form of natural medicine may be something that your body is in need of.
Consider acupuncture as a form of therapy if you suffer from the following conditions:
Upper Respiratory System Conditions
- Acute sinusitis
- Acute rhinitis
- Common Cold and Flu
- Acute tonsillitis
Respiratory System Conditions
- Acute bronchitis
- Bronchial asthma (particularly in kids and uncomplicated cases)
- Acute conjunctivitis
- Central Retinitis Myopia (in kids)
- Cataracts (uncomplicated cases)
- Post tooth extraction pain
- Gingivitis (gum condition)
- Acute and Chronic Pharyngitis
- Oesophageal spasms
- Acute and Chronic Gastritis
- Gastric Hyperacidity
- Chronic Duodenal UIcer
- Acute and Chronic Colitis
- Acute Bacillary Dysentery
- Paralytic ileus
Neurological and Musculoskeletal Conditions
- Headaches and migraines
- Trigeminal Neuralgia
- Facial Palsy (early stage)
- Pareses (post stroke)
- Peripheral Neuropathies
- Sequelae of Poliomyelitis (early stage)
- Meniere’s Disease
- Neurogenic bladder dysfunction
- Nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting)
- Intercostal neuralgia
- Cervicobrachial syndrome
- Frozen shoulder
- Lower back pain
- Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
- Back and knee pain
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Sports injuries and ailments
Reproductive and Gynaecological Conditions
- Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
- Dysmenorrhoea (painful periods)
- Spotting and excess bleeding
- Amenorrhoea (loss of periods)
Mental Emotional Conditions
This is by no means an exhaustive list and you must always keep in mind that everybody responds differently to different methods of treatment. The body of evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture for these types of conditions is rapidly growing. While more research is needed to fully understand the inner workings of how acupuncture affects the body and how it an be combined with other modalities to get the best results, many people have found acupuncture to be highly effective. The most exciting thing from my perspective, beyond its effectiveness for so many hard to treat conditions, is that this modality is safe, natural and works with the body’s own extremely powerful innate healing ability. This works in very well with the Chiropractic philosophy of innate healing. The reality is, the body is extremely capable of healing itself in the presence of good blood flow, neurological messages, oxygen and nutrition.
I hate the thought of needles, what can I do instead?
I know that there are a lot of people out there that are needle phobic or may still remain sceptical about this mode of therapy, so let me offer you an alternative that provides the same benefits, using the same principles, but can be done in the comfort of your own home. Have you ever heard about an acupressure mat? The spikes of the acupressure mat behave like the needles used during an acupuncture treatment to stimulate the points along the meridians that the mat is in contact with. By laying in various orientations along the mat, you can stimulate the different organs and systems relevant to those meridians (as seen in the picture above) and free up the Qi flowing to these organs allowing the body to help find balance and eliminate dis-ease. Instead of the acupuncturist finding a few specific points along the meridians related to your condition, the acupressure mat covers many of the points along the meridians that are in contact with the mat, ensuring that all bases are covered. The efficacy of the acupressure mat has been demonstrated in many studies now, for example this study 2021 on the effectiveness of the acupressure mat in the management of chronic lower back pain, click here for more info.
Many of our community members are looking for ways to be more accountable for their own health and to be able to treat themselves from home either as their primary form of care, or as a way to fast track their healing in between their visits with another health practitioner. Using an acupressure mat at home can have such a variety of incredible health benefits, as well as saving you heaps of time and money. Here are a list of videos we have done on FB highlighting how to lie on your acupressure mats to stimulate the meridians required to help: