Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine understand you as a whole. Here, the emotional, physical and psychological are intrinsically linked, and treating one inevitably impacts the others. This is great, because you can come in for knee pain but also leave feeling relaxed, happy and calm, as well as having an excellent result with your knee.
It is through linking all of these aspects of your health that Peter will treat you in your entirety – as a person with a life story, not just a collection of symptoms – truly comprehensive health care. Through unblocking and balancing of all aspects, acupuncture can help you reach new exciting levels of potential, health and happiness. Isn’t this what we all want?
Our acupuncturist, Peter, is a is a registered Traditional Chinese medical practitioner (herbal medicine and acupuncture). Did you know that in Australia, acupuncture is a registered health profession?
Acupuncturists – just like medical doctors, physios or osteopaths – are government accredited through the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Authority (AHPRA) and must undergo a minimum of 4 years study to hold a tertiary degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Australia is one of only a few places in the western world where acupuncture requires a degree and is registered health profession, and acupuncturists in Australia are some the most highly qualified acupuncturists in the world.
Traditional Chinese Medicine offers truly holistic solutions which have stood the test of thousands of years. A Originating over 3,500 years ago, acupuncture is one of the oldest and most commonly used healing systems worldwide, and has more recently become increasingly popular in the west and globally.
So…DOES IT WORK?
Scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of acupuncture varies, and there are differing levels of evidence that vary from condition to condition. As for all medicine, evidence is changing all the time. Currently, an Acupuncture Evidence Project is underway to vigilantly review research surrounding acupuncture. This is an important step for acupuncture and here are some of the findings so far.
High levels of evidence support the use of acupuncture to treat: Allergic rhinitis (perennial & seasonal), knee osteoarthritis, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (with anti-emetics), migraine prophylaxis, chronic lower back pain, postoperative nausea & vomiting, headache (tension-type and chronic), postoperative pain.
Other conditions where acupuncture has shown positive effect include: Acute lower back pain, acute stroke, ambulatory anaesthesia, anxiety, aromatase-inhibitor-induced arthralgia, asthma in adults, back or pelvic pain during pregnancy, cancer pain, cancer-related fatigue, constipation, craniotomy anaesthesia, depression (with antidepressants), dry eye, hypertension (with medication), insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, labour pain, lateral elbow pain, menopausal hot flushes, modulating sensory perception thresholds, neck pain (NAD, not WAD), obesity, perimenopausal & postmenopausal insomnia, plantar heel pain, post-stroke insomnia, post-stroke shoulder pain, post-stroke spasticity, post traumatic stress disorder, prostatitis pain / chronic pelvic pain syndrome, recovery after colorectal cancer resection, restless leg syndrome, schizophrenia (with antipsychotics), sciatica, shoulder impingement syndrome (early stage; with exercise), shoulder pain, smoking cessation (up to 3 months), stroke rehabilitation, temporomandibular (jaw) pain.
Other areas of acupuncture still have less sufficient amounts of evidence or unclear evidence. So acupuncture has a lot of room for more research. The Acupuncture Evidence Project for more information, which can be accessed here. There is sometimes wriggle room between research on acupuncture and what practitioners find to work clinically. It is always worth asking Peter if he has experience with the problem you are seeking help for. For example, irregular or painful periods, endometriosis, PCOS, other hormonal issues, fertility concerns, back pain, anxiety, depression and digestive disorders. Remember that all our experts offer free 15 minute appointments to discuss such questions which you can book here.
Then…HOW does it work?
The million dollar question. The answer to this really depends on who you ask, and if you want to know how it works according to Chinese Medicine theory or science. Most people like to start with science, so let’s start with that.
How does acupuncture work according to science?
There are several theories on how acupuncture actually works. One theory puts forward that the majority of acupuncture points are located in close proximity to neural structures, suggesting that acupuncture works by stimulating the nervous system. Another theory suggests that acupuncture stimulates endorphins in the body, giving rise to its healing function.
The Acupuncture Evidence Project discusses this more, which can be accessed here.
How does acupuncture work according to Chinese Medicine theory?
Here is a quick summary of the two fundamental theories in Traditional Chinese Medicine for those interested in its roots:
Yin and Yang
Firstly, acupuncture aims to balance the forces of yin and yang, and achieve harmony and balance with in the physiological and energetic systems of the body.
Yin and yang are two opposing forces in nature that are in everything, including the body. These forces co-exist, are mutually dependant and relative to each other. In Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, you cannot have yin without yang and vice versa. Every person has both. But only when these forces are balanced can you expect good health and wellbeing. To give a basic example or interpretation of yin and yang, one could describe yin as water and fluids in the body, while yang represents heat and energy. The balancing of these two forces is fundamental for the body to work in harmony, and not be stressed or out of balance. Think of a plant, it needs both water and sun, in the right proportions to be healthy. Like plants, humans need a balance of water / fluids and heat / energy in the body…or things start to go wrong.
Five Element Theory
The other fundamental theory is based on is the five element theory. According to ancient Chinese wisdom, all things in the natural world are made up of five elements – fire, earth, water, metal and wood. In the body, these elements correlate to organ pairs: heart and pericardium (fire), spleen and stomach (earth), kidney and bladder (water), lungs and large intestine (metal) and liver and gallbladder (wood).
The organs also correlate to different functions of the body. These have their own energy pathways – meridians – that usually circumnavigate the organ, and correlate to emotions and season.
For example, the fire element relates to organ of the heart and pericardium, which rule the season of summer and emotion of joy. If you have a heart imbalance, for example you are more likely to have either excessive or not enough joy, or you may even oscillate between these too. Also, this imbalance may become more pronounced in the season of summer. If you are fascinated by this, ask us to find out more or book an appointment!