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Lisa Ogden is the Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine Practitioner at Balmain Natural Therapies  

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a system of healing that has been practised in China and other Eastern countries for thousands of years. Although often described as a means of pain relief, it is in fact used to treat people with a wide range of illnesses and health concerns. Its focus is on improving the overall wellbeing in a person rather than just treating isolated symptoms.

According to traditional Chinese philosophy, our health is dependent on the body's motivating life energy - known as Qi - moving in a smooth and balanced way through a series of channels beneath the skin. Qi consists of equal and opposite qualities - Yin and Yang - and when these become imbalanced, illness may result. By inserting fine needles into these channels of energy, an acupuncturist can stimulate the body's own
healing response and help restore a natural balance. The flow of Qi can be disturbed by a number of factors. These include emotional stresses; poor nutrition; hereditary factors; infections; medications and trauma.
The principle aim of acupuncture is to regain equilibrium beween the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects in an individual so that they may live a happy, healthy life.

Many people come to acupuncture for help with specific symptoms or conditions. These include: anxiety, depression, arthritis, asthma, back pain, circulation problems, high blood pressure, migraines, sciatica, infertility, menstrual problems, skin conditions and digestive complaints.Some people may have acupuncture as a preventive measure to strengthen their constitution, or because they feel unwell in themselves without being 'ill' in a traditional sense. It can also be used alongside
conventional medicine in the treatment of both acute and chronic diseases. As with any therapy, the response from one person to another can vary. Some people respond well in 1 to 2 sessions and others may need a longer course of sessions over several months.

Chinese herbs - in capsule, tablet or pill form may be used in conjunction with acupuncture treatment.

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How does acupuncture diagnosis work?

A detailed assessment is carried out to determine the diagnosis. It includes:

 1. Asking specific questions

  • There will be patterns of disharmony that are causing the symptoms that the client is concerned about. The practitioner needs to determine  the underlying patterns of disharmony to plan a treatment strategy. Doing so helps the pracitioner select acupuncture points, to rebalance the body. It is the choice of points that make Acupuncture an art.

2. Palpation

  • The acupuncturist feels the quality of the pulse, Eg whether it is fine, full, weak, choppy etc. This enables the practioner to feel how the energy is moving throughout the body and organ systems so the health of the patient can be determined.

3. Checking the tongue

  • The tongue reveals a great deal about the state of health, as certain areas on the tongue relate to specific areas in the body.

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What happens in an acupuncture treatment?

In an acupuncture treatment, certain points are chosen to needle, according to the patients condition. The needles are very fine, sterile and single use.

The sensations felt are different for everyone, you may feel very little, or some lightness, slight tingling or heaviness. There is very little or no discomfort experienced. The needles are left in place for 10-25mins, depending on the treatment, and the client usually feels pleasantly relaxed and frequently leaves with a feeling of wellbeing.

Usually a course of treatment is needed. The length of the course is based on the condition. Commonly 6 to 8 treatments. A short term condition may only need between 1 and 3 treatments. Generally the longer the person has had the condition the more treatments they will need.

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What can acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture is effective for many health problems including;

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