How does acupuncture work?

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional acupuncture is a healthcare system based on ancient principles which go back nearly two thousand years. It has a very positive model of good health and function, and looks at pain and illness as signs that the body is out of balance. The overall aim of acupuncture treatment, then, is to restore the body's equilibrium. What makes this system so uniquely suited to modern life is that physical, emotional and mental are seen as interdependent, and reflect what many people perceive as the connection between the different aspects their lives.


Based on traditional belief, acupuncturists are trained to use subtle diagnostic techniques that have been developed and refined for centuries. The focus is on the individual, not their illness, and all the symptoms are seen in relation to each other. Each patient is unique; two people with the same western diagnosis may well receive different acupuncture treatments.

Traditional acupuncturists believe that the underlying principle of treatment is that illness and pain occur when the body's qi, or vital energy, cannot flow freely. There can be many reasons for this; emotional and physical stress, poor nutrition, infection or injury are among the most common. By inserting ultra-fine sterile needles into specific acupuncture points, a traditional acupuncturist seeks to re-establish the free flow of qi to restore balance and trigger the body's natural healing response.

Until the 1940s, when the Chinese government commissioned the development of a uniform system of diagnosis and treatment, somewhat misleadingly referred to as TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), nearly all training had been apprentice-style with masters and within families. The same applied when acupuncture travelled overseas to Japan and South East Asia.


As a consequence of this there are many different styles of acupuncture which share a common root but are distinct and different in their emphasis.  In my practice I use a combination of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Five Elements depending on the patients needs and diagnosis.


Traditional acupuncture has a long history of adapting to new cultures in which it is practised. Its growing popularity and acceptance in the West may well promote yet more new and exciting variations on the ancient themes. A growing body of evidence-based clinical research now shows that traditional acupuncture safely treats a wide range of common health problems.

Five Elements

According to Chinese theory, we’re made up of the 5 Elements:
Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.

They’re our creative and controlling energies and ideally should all be in balance. The Elements out of balance are known as the causative factor and become apparent in many ways. The causative factor is a POSITIVE thing.

When you come for treatment and you’re out of balance, then these problems will become evident to the trained practitioner. Your 5 Element Acupuncturist will be able to diagnose problems within you by evaluating your colour, sound, odour or emotion.

This enables them to put together a treatment plan that will treat your causative factor or what element you represent.

This ancient system enables the body/mind/spirit to heal itself, as far as nature will allow.

This principle of traditional acupuncture is important, because it means the underlying cause of the disease is being dealt with rather than the symptom merely being swept under the carpet, only to reappear in the future.

Not only dealing with your condition by restoring the overall balance of energy, 5 Element Acupuncture may help you to feel better in a general way, by promoting an improved quality of life.

Based on well over 2500 years of use, traditional acupuncture affects the whole person - body, mind and spirit - and may therefore help a very wide range of issues. Also, some people like to have acupuncture as a preventative measure to strengthen their constitution or because they feel unwell in themselves.


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