Acupuncture is a safe, relatively painless way to deal with everything from migraines to a variety of skin concerns including wrinkles and acne. Practised for thousands of years, acupuncture is recognised by the World Health Organisation as an effective treatment for a variety of health conditions.
What is acupuncture?
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the body is made up of opposing aspects yin and yang. When these are in balance, qi or energy flows freely through the body in channels known as meridians, and the person is healthy. It’s when the flow of qi is obstructed due to an imbalance of yin and yang that the person falls ill. Acupuncture then helps promote the flow of qi to cure illness and alleviate pain.
What does it involve?
A typical session of acupuncture involves the insertion of hair-thin sterilised needles into specific acupoints on the body, effectively rendering you a human pincushion for the rest of your session. The treatment dredges the meridians, enabling qi to flow freely again. The physician may twist the needles or apply a mild electrical current to augment the treatment; the placement of the needles is different for each session, depending on your condition. The needles are disposable so there is no danger of infection. If all this talk of needles is already making you woozy, you will be happy to know that most people describe their insertions as painless, or compare them to an ant bite. The needles are left in for 10 to 30 minutes while you rest. Should you feel any discomfort, don’t hesitate to call the physician.
What are the benefits?
According to Senior Physician Tang Yue of Eu Yang Sang Premier TCM Centre at Paragon, “Acupuncture can strengthen one’s body constitution, boost immunity and prevent diseases through the stimulation of different acupuncture points.” You can expect relief from minor allergies, sinusitis and menstrual cramps; tackle insomnia, asthma, infertility and migraines, and ease stress. She adds, “For certain aesthetic conditions such as acne, wrinkles, chloasma, sagging skin, hair loss and obesity, we can achieve a therapeutic effect with acupuncture by focusing on the underlying cause of the condition.” Needles are inserted at acupoints corresponding to the causes of acne, while wrinkles and other blemishes require needles on the face to stimulate blood circulation. Only a few people experience bruising or soreness, which goes away in a day or two. Some experience slight bleeding where the needle is extracted – which can be stopped by applying pressure to the area.
Who can benefit?
Traditional Chinese Medicine has two aspects – maintenance and treatment. If you are ill, acupuncture can help you get better, and if you are well, it can help prevent illness. Irrespective of your medical history and physical background, acupuncture can benefit you.
This article first appeared in the January 2016 issue of Expat Living. Click here to subscribe.