Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine


What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the oldest healing practices in the world. It involves the stimulation of specific acupoints in the body to correct imbalances in the flow of Qi (pronounced “chee”) or life energy flowing through the body’s meridians. While acupuncture is most commonly associated with the insertion of thin solid needles into the skin, skilled practitioners typically employ a range of additional techniques including moxibustion (the burning of herbs) and cupping (the placement of suction cups on the skin).

What is Qi and how does it affect the body?

When healthy, an abundant supply of qi (pronounced chee) or ‘life energy’ flows through the body’s meridians (a network of unseen channels through the body). If the flow of qi becomes blocked or there is an inadequate supply of qi, then the body fails to maintain harmony, balance and order and disease or illness follows. This can result from stress, overwork, poor diet, disease pathogens, environmental conditions and other lifestyle factors.

Can I buy Chinese Herbal medicine at the chemist?

While there might be formulations at your chemist labelled as Chinese medicine, a qualified practitioner will never use a one-size-fits-all approach. A qualified practitioner will prescribe a Chinese herbal formula specifically formulated for your own condition. The formula is also adjusted and modified during the recovery period until the desired health outcome is achieved.

Most diseases or illnesses present with a core set of recognisable signs and symptoms, but the actual presentation of a particular disease or illness may vary from person to person. For this reason, people with similar health conditions may be provided with quite different Chinese herbal medicine prescriptions.

Does acupuncture work?

Research has shown that acupuncture can be used with effectiveness in the treatment of a wide range of conditions, from musculoskeletal and gastronomical issues to mental health, stress, reproductive and gynaecological concerns. Acupuncture has been proven to effectively complement the treatment of conditions such as allergic rhinitis, knee osteoarthritis, headaches and chronic lower back pain.

What is the difference between acupuncture and dry needling?

Both modalities involve the placing of needles at specific points in the body, but there are vast differences. Acupuncturists study for a minimum of 4 years and are registered with the CMBA. Acupuncture follows a holistic approach by balancing body, mind and spirit while dry needling focuses only on the affected area. Click here for more information.

How will I know if my acupuncturist has been properly trained?

Consult a registered acupuncturist who is also accredited with the profession’s peak national body, AACMA. You can then rest assured that you are accessing the best qualified practitioners who really know and understand acupuncture well. Click here to make use of our practitioner search function, or give AACMA a call at 07 3457 1800.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Many people feel a small transient sting as the acupuncture needles are inserted. Following an acupuncture session, some patients may experience minor side effects that are mild and self-correcting, such as a light headache and occasional minor bruising.

What goes into Chinese medicine?

There are more than 450 substances commonly used in Chinese herbal medicine – most are of plant origin though some animal and mineral substances may also be used. Some substances that were used traditionally are no longer part of modern professional Chinese herbal medicine practice. For example, traditional remedies with extracts of endangered species have been replaced by other substances with similar actions. AACMA supports and adheres to the CITES list of endangered species.

Why should I try acupuncture?

Acupuncture focuses on drug-free pain relief and can be effective in the treatment of a number of acute and chronic ailments. It takes a holistic approach by addressing the underlying cause of the condition, as well as the symptoms. Acupuncture links body, mind and emotions. Acupuncture focuses not only on ailments but assists in the prevention against disease and the maintenance of general well-being.

What happens at a typical consultation with an acupuncturist or Chinese medicine practitioner?

The hallmark of acupuncture practice is holistic individualised treatment. At the initial consultation, practitioners will take a case history by interviewing the patient about their current health concerns, past health conditions and a range of related matters, including diet, lifestyle habits, sleeping patterns, appetite, menstrual cycle, stress reactions and food or other sensitivities.

To further identify what are known in traditional Chinese medicine practice as ‘patterns of disharmony’ in the body, the practitioner will observe and note other health indicators such as the colour of the face, the condition of the tongue, the sound of the voice and the characteristics of the radial pulse of the wrist.

Your doctor will discuss your treatment options with you before proceeding with the examination and treatment.