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Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine FAQ's
Our clinic in Hobart is happy to answer any further questions not covered here
Acupuncture is the use of any technique that punctures the skin with an Acupuncture needle. Some therapists like to use the term dry needling, myotherapy, trigger point therapy, IDN, DNP, etc. An Acupuncturist is professionally trained in any technique that uses a needle to puncture the skin and will utilise whatever forms and techniques that seem appropriate in each and every clinical case. An Acupuncturist uses Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), herbal formulae, dietetics from a TCM perspective, tui na massage and also has training in biomedicine, anatomy & physiology, pharmacology and chemistry at a level as required in a Bachelor of Health Science degree.
Dry Needling is a term used to describe a simple technique. It’s a small part and one technique among many that an Acupuncturist may utilise in formulating a treatment. Typically the term dry needling refers to de-activating trigger points, which are called “Ahshi” points in Acupuncture. Commonly a “twitch response” can occur. The difference in training? A dry needling course can be completed in 2 or 4 day short courses and is usually an add-on technique for various therapy styles. An Acupuncturist practises for 4 years (BHSc) in a clinical setting, specifically in the field of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Practitioners registered with AHPRA under the term or title “Acupuncturist”, have been trained to perform many techniques, from multiple theories utilising an Acupuncture needle. They will evaluate what is most suitable after considering classical, traditional, scientific & modern research.
This is just another way of describing a pathway and the movement of blood, lymph, fluids and oxygen within the confines of these pathways. These substances all preside within veins, arteries, capillaries, lymph vessels, fascia, muscles and communicate directly with the intricacies of the nervous system, CNS, Brain and consciousness. I believe Traditional Chinese Medicine has a rather elegant way of describing all the scientific mechanisms that play like an orchestra, in a constant loop, intertwining and biologically harmonising together with metabolic and chemical processes.
Qi has many interpretations. From a western standpoint, you could say it represents oxygen, blood and the vital movement of blood and substances toward organs, muscles, nerves and general physiology, along these pathways or meridians. It’s an alternative way of explaining the same metabolic and physiological processes we understand today. The processes which occurred in the human body thousands of years ago when Chinese Medicine theory was being informed, are the very same processes that occur today amongst scientific thinking. And there’s the only difference, perspective, perception and differences in cultural context and language. Same body, different time.
Some people just want a “tune-up”, some people require extended treatment. Depending on your clinical issue, Acupuncture has an accumulative effect; so many cases may require a course of treatment. This can be in part explained by neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity describes the brains ability to adapt, change and re-organise its neural network to allow the body to accomplish previously diminished or underperforming actions. It’s the brains ability to “re-wire” and essentially grow new neural networks. So if you want to learn the piano, with repeated lessons your neural network associated with your fingers and musical reasoning will “re-wire” and you will become better and better. The same for Acupuncture. Repeated treatments are essentially strengthening the signal to your brain every time you do it, causing “neuroplasticity”, but with the intention of improving health. We understand there will be those who just want to come in for a “tune-up”, some “stress relief” or to “try it out” and that is totally fine. There is never any commitment or pressure to come in for repeated treatments. We will only advise what we feel is necessary and leave it up to you.
During the Acupuncture, occasionally there may be a slight sensation of a pinch or mosquito bite. Following the needle insertion there may be tingling, numbness, achiness or heaviness in the area of the needle. These are natural responses. People occasionally feel exhilaration. Most commonly, after the needles have been placed, people feel extremely relaxed and peaceful, or energised. You will be lying on a comfortable table in a tranquil room and may even fall into a light sleep during the session.
Acupuncturists use ultra-thin, sterile, single use, disposable filament needles. Every needle is used once and then thrown away into a sharps container.
Extracted forms of herbal combinations used clinically to assist in many different areas, including improving the performance of metabolism, cellular exchange, synergising the activity of organ functions, neuro-hormonal regulation to name a few. After a thorough evaluation, a Chinese Medicine Practitioner can select specific herbal formulae that will assist a clinical issue that is being treated with Acupuncture. This can enhance the overall effectiveness within the treatment protocol
Treatments usually take 45 minutes and sometimes slightly longer for an initial consultation. Please let your practitioner know if you have time constraints ahead of time. If you can come to the first appointment about 5 minutes early to fill out a short form, that would be greatly appreciated.