Acupuncture is one of the oldest medical treatments in existence, originating in China more than 2,500 years ago and now you can experience the benefits of this treatment at the Da Vinci centre.
The technique of acupuncture involves placing hair-thin needles in various pressure points (called acupoints) throughout the body. Stimulating these points is believed to promote the body’s natural healing capabilities and enhance its function.
Put simply,energy, which the Chinese call qi and it usually pronounced as ‘chee’, flows through meridians which are described as like waterways or rivers. Allison Davis, acupuncturist at the Da Vinci centre, explains that “if the flow of water or qi gets blocked it can lead to physical, emotional or mental ill health.”
Davis further explains that there are 12 regular meridians which are associated with an organ of the body and eight extraordinary meridians which lie deeper and supply the regular meridians with energy or qi.
There are approximately 2,000 different acupuncture points which lie along the body’s meridians. The idea behind acupuncture is that stimulating these points with acupuncture needles or pressure relieves obstructions in the flow of energy, enabling the body to heal.
The way Davis diagnoses is in three ways. First the client fills in an extensive questionnaire. She then goes into more detail on specifics. Davis says that she can get a fair idea about a client’s health from the questionnaire and she then confirms by looking at their tongue and checking pulses.
Acupuncturists believe that they can tell a lot about what is going on by the tongue which in Chinese medicine maps the internal organs and systems. When Davis checks a tongue she examines its shape and size, colour and coating. She will also be looking at how colour and cracks in the tongue are distributed.
Davis then checks the pulses on the body. There are different types of pulses in acupuncture and again the belief is that they can tell the state of internal organs and overall health from the way your pulses are functioning. Among other things they check by depth, quality and shape.
From analysis of my tongue Davis concludes that my endocrine system is not functioning well and that I have digestive problems. My pulses are weak and deep which implies extreme tiredness and low energy. With tiredness it is hard for energy to circulate around the body which in turn leads to other problems.
Davis then starts to insert needles in my body. I have had acupuncture before and know what to expect but anyway I prefer not to look, especially at the ones she inserts around my stomach area.
There is no pain and in actual fact I begin to feel so relaxed that I want to fall asleep. Davis says this is not unusual and that when she leaves the room to wash her hands she often finds clients asleep when she returns.
Davis now introduces me to something completely new and quite honestly bizarre sounding. Craniosacral therapy involves gentle massages of the bones of the skull. Davis tells me that it stimulates the cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. Therapists say that there is a link between the fluid in the head and the sacrum (the base of the lower back) and that the rhythm of the fluid that flows between these areas can be detected like a pulse. They say it normalises, balances, and eliminates obstructions (blockages) in various systems throughout the body.
Davis tells me that I might experience images of emotional traumas that I might have suppressed but I really do not experience anything like that. It is extremely relaxing and occasionally I feel an almost imperceptible shift as if of water shifting but it could just be my imagination.
This part of the therapy is extremely relaxing and silent but while inserting the needles Davis has continued to ask questions such as do I eat a lot of cold food. I tell her I eat a lot of salads and she says that my digestive problems could be due to eating too much. She suggests drinking ginger tea and using spices and ginger more in my food to fire up my digestive system.
Davis reiterates that acupuncture should not replace a doctor’s treatment but be used to complement it.
She says that in general if you want to use acupuncture for symptoms that are giving you pain then come in once a month. Whereas for chronic conditions the theory is once a month for every year you have had it but she says it depends on the individual – everyone is different.
A week after my treatment I feel that I have more energy and my troubled digestive system is working much better.
Allison Davis- reflexologist