What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a treatment derived from ancient Chinese Medicine. Fine needles are inserted at certain locations on the body for therapeutic or preventative purposes.
Acupuncture involves stimulating sensory nerves under the skin and in the muscles. As a result the body produces natural substances, such as pain-relieving endorphins. These naturally released substances produce the beneficial effects experienced with acupuncture treatment.
A course of acupuncture treatments usually creates longer-lasting pain relief (or other intended beneficial effects) rather than when a single treatment is used.
Traditional acupuncture is based on the belief that an energy, or ‘life force’, flows through the body in channels called meridians. This life force is known as Qi (pronounced “chee”).
Practitioners who traditionally use acupuncture believe that when Qi does not flow freely through the body, this can cause illness. They also believe acupuncture can restore the flow of Qi, thus restoring health.
What does a Naturopathic Acupuncturist do?
A Naturopathic Acupuncturist follows Naturopathic Principles when treating a patient. The Naturopathic Acupuncturist will look at the whole person, knowing that a symptom is not the disease, and use, in addition to acupuncture needles, tools such as dietary and lifestyle interventions in order to support their patients.
An initial acupuncture session may last anything from 40 minutes to 1.5 hours and involves an assessment of your general health, medical history and a physical examination (including pulse and tongue diagnosis), followed by insertion of the acupuncture needles.
Treatment often involves a number of sessions – this can vary depending on the complexity of your health goals.
A Naturopathic Acupuncturist focuses on:
- Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Acupuncture
- Treating the whole person, not a symptom
- Applying additional Naturopathic therapies such as Nutrition, First Aid Homeopathy, Bach Flowers, Tissue Salts, Iridology and Herbs
What happens in a consultation with an Acupuncturist?
An acupuncturist will normally consult with a new client for between 60 to 90 minutes. During this time a thorough case history will be taken, and you will be asked for your family history, medical history, diet, lifestyle and health concerns. It is common for your acupuncturist to look at your tongue, nails and skin and take your pulse. They will sometimes also look at your eyes and your irises specifically.
Your acupuncturist will then use fine needles at certain sites on the body for therapeutic or preventative purposes.
During the session, you’ll usually be asked to sit or lie down. You may also be asked to remove some clothes so the practitioner can access certain parts of your body.
Once your consultation is done, the acupuncturist may create a treatment plan for you, which could include lifestyle and dietary recommendations, and any other interventions, if appropriate.
Naturopathic Acupuncturists registered with the ANP follow a Code of Ethics which includes client confidentiality
How long will I need to see an Acupuncturist for?
It is common to see an acupuncturist for a series of treatments. These will vary depending on your individual needs.
How much does Acupuncture cost?
The cost of your acupuncturist will depend on a wide range of factors including their specialism, experience, location, level of service and personal preference.
You may be given a discount on a series of treatments as part of a package. Some practitioners also advertise their costs on their website. Details of the costs of consultations should be made clear to you at the time of booking.
Qualifications required to be an Acupuncturist
To become a competent acupuncturist, you will need to be educated to Diploma Level 6, or BSc Honours level. This training takes approximately 4-5 years depending on whether you study full time or part time.
Acupuncture Professional Development
In order to maintain professional status, level of competence and code of conduct as a Naturopathic Acupuncturist, membership associations such as ANP will require a minimum amount of further training and continued professional development (CPD).
A good Naturopathic Acupuncture association, such as ANP, will provide ongoing training and other activities aimed at supporting their members stay abreast of the latest developments in the field of Acupunture.
What can Acupuncture help with?
Common complaints that an Acupuncturist is consulted for are:
- Weight issues
- Musculoskeletal discomfort
How can I find an acupuncturist in my area?
Professional, qualified acupuncturists can be found via the ANP Practitioner Directory.