What is Acupuncture and how does it work?

Acupuncture is one of the two main modalities under the umbrella of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the other being Chinese Herbal Medicine.

The Meridian System

The ancient Chinese developed and mapped the meridian system over many centuries through a combination of observation and clinical experience, the meridian system is one of the fundamental foundations of Chinese Medicine.

There are twelve main meridians or vessels in the body, numerous smaller tributaries and even finer capillary networks vessels.  The meridian system is similar in this respect to the circulatory system, but it is not the circulatory system.

Meridians act as conduits for transporting energy (Qi) and blood (Xue) around the body in order to keep every cell nourished and healthy, similar to an aqueduct system.

The meridians are invisible to the naked eye and undetectable even by the most advanced medical imagining techniques.

Meridians often travel over or near nerve paths. Stimulating specific acupuncture points on the pathway can improve nerve function in the local area and help to alleviate neural pain, they are however separate from the nervous system.

There are a total of 365 acupuncture points strategically positioned along the meridian pathways.  Acupuncture points offer acupuncturists direct access to the energy or Qi travelling deep within the body.

The aim of acupuncture is to stimulate energy (Qi) flow and remove blockages.  This is done by inserting very fine acupuncture needles into the acupuncture points.

The system of Chinese Medicine believes that the energy flowing in the meridians can become blocked or stagnate for a number of reasons and this may disturb health.

The theory is that when the stagnant energy is moved balance can be restored and health is optimised.  Acupuncture treatment is generally considered to be safe but occasionally (as with all health treatments) may be associated with possible adverse reactions in individual cases. We only use high quality disposable acupuncture needles and adhere to strict infection control guidelines set by AHPRA, our registration body.

Many people are anxious that acupuncture might hurt.  This concern is often unnecessary.  Acupuncture needles are much finer than medical needles and generally insertion is not painful.  Most people report an initial tingling sensation followed by a calm and relaxed feeling during the treatment.

How do I know if my practitioner is professionally trained?

In 2001, due to the efforts of a committed group of health professionals, consumers and State government representatives, Victoria become the first State outside of China to enact mandatory registration for all Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners in the modalities of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine.

In July 2012 registration moved to a national scheme administered by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) which also oversees 14 other allied health professions including Western Medical Doctors, Nurses and Dentists.

All Acupuncturists and Chinese Herbal Medicine practitioners practicing in Australia MUST be registered with AHPRAH.

The role of AHPRA is to protect the public by setting minimum professional standards of education and training, developing codes of professional conduct and investigating community complaints regarding individual, registered health practitioners.

Members of the public can search the register to check if their practitioner is registered by calling AHPRA on 1300 419 495 or visiting the website at www.ahpra.gov.au

AHPRA also has a formal complaints process whereby members of the public can make notifications regarding breaches of professional conduct by registered practitioners.

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