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Acupuncture is an ancient system of healing developed over thousands of years in China, Japan and other eastern countries. It has evolved into a system of medicine that restores and maintains health by the insertion of very fine needles into acupuncture points just below the surface of the body. These points lie in specific locations on channels of energy. Moxibustion, the warming of acupuncture points through the use of smouldering herbs is often used as a supplement. Acupressure, massage and dietary advice may also be part of the treatment.

Treating the whole person

Western medicine and Chinese medicine approach disease in fundamentally different ways. Western medicine looks for an external cause for a specific disease, which it isolates and controls with drugs and surgery. Chinese medicine takes into account not only the disease symptoms but also the constitution, age, habits, physical and emotional traits and all other aspects of the individual and attempts to put together an overall picture of the patient in order to evaluate any patterns of disharmony that have arisen. Health is a state of total harmony between spiritual, physical and emotional aspects of the individual. Illness, on the other hand, is a disharmony that manifests itself as certain symptoms. The symptoms on their own are often unimportant; they are merely part of the syndrome of harmony or disharmony, which makes up the whole person.

Cause of disease

Many things can upset the flow of qi or energy. Chinese medicine lays great stress on the importance of emotional states such as stress, worry, anger, fear and grief. Each of these can have particular effect upon the energy balance of the body. A person's dietary habits, levels of exercise, working conditions, climatic factors are also seen to intimately affect the flow of QI.


Deirdre Parrinder

Bernadette Reed




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