Home Page & Information
Jonathan Clogstoun-Willmott - Classical Acupuncturist
BSc LicAc BAc DipAc(China) MBAcC MABP DipCHM LCH MCH PCH RSAPH
Edinburgh Natural Health Centre
Otherwise (+44) 131 629 3257
one of the main methods of treatment in Chinese
Medicine (click on the link to find out more about the theory of
Chinese Medicine and why acupuncturists needs such a long training.)
Chinese medicine has evolved many different ways to treat disease and to maintain
health. Some you might not have heard of, for example, moxibustion and cupping.
Still others come from a tradition that grew out of the Chinese Medical theory
but then developed along its own path, such as Shiatsu.
Another is Nutrition, which you might think is irrelevant, since it is also
a subject of such interest in the West. But the Chinese attitude to Nutrition
is quite different and has insights that complement our Western Scientific
tradition. When you visit us we shall almost certainly ask you about our diet
and may be able to make suggestions that will help you stay well. So powerful
is nutrition that the right foods can keep you calm too!
What is Acupuncture?
Thin, flexible, non-hypodermic, usually steel needles, sterilised before use,
are swiftly and almost painlessly inserted into what are called acupuncture
points on the skin. For most people the sensation of insertion is minimal.
The needle is inserted to whatever depth is necessary to obtain what is called
'deqi'. Once obtained, this needle 'sensation' shows that the treatment has
begun, and the 'energy' is then 'dispersed', reinforced', tonified', or directed
along the meridian of acupuncture on which the point lies.
Some acupuncture points do not lie on meridians but are important because of
their effect locally at that site or elsewhere in the body. Most acupuncture
points on meridians have been found to have a number of functions additional
to whatever effect they may have locally, and are often used for their effect
somewhere else in the body rather just than for their local effect.
The needle is left in position for anywhere between a few seconds and half
an hour. Acupuncture points are often used in combination, together achieving
far more than could a single point on its own. After use, acupuncture needles
are discarded. Acupuncture is based on the theory of Chinese Medicine, so that,
in principle, someone who received a diagnosis from one practitioner of Chinese
medicine could attend another practitioner of Chinese Medicine who would be
able to proceed with treatment without further questions, if he or she trusted
Traditional acupuncture relies on a theory of meridians and collaterals along
which qi is said to move. When qi moves steadily and without constraint there
is health. When there is too little, or too much, or the wrong kind of qi,
disease arises. Acupuncture treats this by influencing the flow of qi along
the meridians, but also by its effect on the zang-fu, blood and fluids.
Ear (Auricular) Acupuncture
Within only the last 50 years has ear acupuncture become well practised, although
certain limited uses of it were recorded in ancient China, Egypt, Rome and
Persia. In the period starting 1600 AD, Dutch traders brought Chinese acupuncture
practices to Europe. In 1957 a French doctor, Dr Paul Nogier presented his
ideas on auricular acupuncture, since when not only has its use developed
widely in the West, but the Chinese have also taken notice and developed
it in China, leading to parallel traditions, East and West, similar in many
ways, but with some specific differences.
Nowadays, special needles are mostly used for ear acupuncture, or small round
seeds can be pressed into acupuncture points on the ear. Some practitioners
use ear acupuncture on its own, others find it complements acupuncture used
on the body. It has become widely used for treating people trying to come off
drugs, because no clothes need to be removed, and the treatments can be done
in a group setting. We often use it to help people stop smoking, although acupuncture
points used on the body are often even more powerful.
We use whichever - body or ear acupuncture - seems best for the patient.