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What to do if you are unhappy about the service you have received from your practitioner
NB pulled fomr FB Qi piece - needs amendment
In the many articles and news items which proliferate in the media about acupuncture and Chinese medicine, the word which crops up again and again is qi. This short piece will seek to reveal a little of the nature of qi and how the acupuncturist works with it to provide treatment.
The concept of qi pervades much of Chinese medicine and philosophical thought. The Chinese character for qi has no English word into which it can be translated. The character has 2 parts or radicals, which together convey the picture of vapour rising from a container of boiling rice; so it gives a sense of a vital substance which is an inherent part of something that nourishes and sustains life.
All things in the material world, living organisms included are said to depend on qi for their existence, but they are not qi themselves. So from this a picture emerges of something which eludes any attempt to measure or define it.
Chinese medicine describes many forms of qi, depending on where it manifests in the body. For example each organ has its own type of qi that is associated with it, and qi is also said to flow through meridians or channels on which, at specific locations can be found the acupuncture points. It is these which are stimulated by the use of needles during treatment. Qi has 6 functions, including transporting; it is the power of qi which transports the blood round the body. Also it can protect and warm. There are 4 different pathologies which qi can manifest including deficiency and stagnation.
So how does an acupuncturist pull all this information together, and then in the context of the patient in front of them translate that into a treatment pan which will address what the practitioner is 'seeing' in the patient?
Going back to the earlier attempts to define qi, it was clear that it seems to elude any attempt to measure or define it, so the practitioner, in order to carry out a treatment must discern the physiological state of the qi by determining qualitatively the relationship between pairs, or groups of processes or aspects in the patient. In other words, because qi defies our attempts to 'directly see and touch it', we must resort to a kind of round about method. Although this sounds imprecise, Chinese medicine has become over the years, very sophisticated in its library of different ways to determine these relationships.
This touches on an important aspect of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, namely that it is holistic in nature; that we not only have a relationship with our external environment, but each internal aspect has a relationship and so they must all be observed and their relative health etc assessed according to the quality of the qi that is,manifesting.
To give a short example of how a practitioner may use pairs or groups of processes. A diagnosis of deficient lung qi could be arrived at by observing how the patients' posture is overly stooping and they have a weak voice or they experience shortness of breath; or by observing the pulses and tongue together with the posture. The important point here is that nothing is observed in isolation, ie that they all have a relationship one to the other which is part of a changing system, but which the practitioner has to assess at a particular moment.
So to conclude. Although qi eludes our attempts to measure or define it, it manifests in all of us and we can correctly determine what must be treated. This is achieved by assessing the quality and quantity of qi in the patient by observing pairs or groups of processes.
(The factual material about qi included in this piece have been sourced from 'Nourishing Destiny', by Lonny Jarrett.)
Acupuncture is not painful. Most people find acupuncture to be very relaxing. Patients often describe the needle sensation as a tingling or dull ache. This is one of the signs the body's qi, or vital energy, has been stimulated.
Acupuncture is a form of complementary medicine, which involves the stimulation of acupuncture points on the skin of the body by penetrating the point with a fine needle, or the application of heat or pressure.
Acupuncture is a safe form of treatment with a low risk of adverse effects, which many people see as a positive aspect in the treatment of long term chronic conditions where conventional drug therapies or invasive surgery may have considerable adverse effects. The treatment is generally painless due to the size of needles used.
There are differing conceptual frameworks driving the diagnosis and treatment of a patient with acupuncture – the system commonly known as traditional acupuncture uses, as the name implies, traditional concepts that have evolved from its Chinese heritage, which are in some ways quite different to the diagnostic techniques and conclusions that are drawn by those using the other system known as Western Medical Acupuncture.
Members of the British Acupuncture Council practice the traditional acupuncture modality.
The Game's Brittany Daniel fiercely (and secretly) battled cancer for sake of the twin sister she 'could not leave behind' - aided by acupuncture amongst other things.
Complementary therapies can support a patient in dealing with long-term conditions such as Type 2 diabetes. Mark Bovey, Research Manager of the British Acupuncture Council, explains what acupuncture has to offer to someone with diabetes and shares the experiences of some patients who have benefited from this traditional practice
Prickly as it might sound, acupuncture is steadily becoming one of the most popular and talked about ways to relax the mind, body and soul, with a whopping 2.3 million acupuncture treatments carried out each year in the UK.
Melonie Clarke writes:
Whenever I think of acupuncture, my brain always conjures up images of Pinhead from Hellraiser. I couldn't see how little pins would help me overcome my anxiety or how it could help women deal with menopause and infertility. That was before I tried it.