How Acupuncture Works

Just like Naturopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is built on the knowing that each individual is unique in their presentation.  One symptom, although it may be common, can develop from many different variables, including lifestyle, health history and the individual’s constitution. 

We pay close attention to the cause of the symptom, not just the symptom alone.  Without identifying and treating the cause, the symptom is sure to return.

Let’s take one of the most common problems we see; fatigue.  Bob, Judy and Harry all present with this same symptom.

Bob spent all weekend eating pizza on the couch and is now suffering from no energy and feeling heavy, similar to that after-Christmas-lunch feeling. Judy is tired, dizzy and is on day eight of her menstrual cycle. Harry can’t stay awake at his 9-5 job, because his life is all about sports and parties.  

Low energy/fatigue can manifest for many reasons, so let’s look at how we decode this from a TCM perspective.

Firstly, there are two types of energy that rule the body. You are probably already familiar with Yin and Yang.

Yin energy is the resting energy; it’s slow and cold. Think Yin Yoga, mindfulness or Tai Chi.  Yin is traditionally considered feminine, whilst yang is traditionally masculine.

Yang energy comes from physical activities; it’s the fast movements and the heat of the movement... think the “grunt”.

If you are doing too much Yang exercise and not having enough Yin time, you’ll act from an unanchored place and burn out faster (this is Harry). If you’re not doing any Yang exercises, and operating from a Yin state (think slow and cold), you too will become slow and cold.

You need to rest to be able to exert energy and, likewise, exerting energy is imperative to a great sleep. This is the basic Yin and Yang of energy, and shows the delicate balance that’s required for us to feel well.

There are also subtypes of this Yin and Yang energy, called Qi, Blood and Phlegm and we can experience deficiencies in all three of these energies.

Qi is a derivative of the air that you breathe (Da Qi) and the food that you eat (Gu Qi). If your digestion is poor or your food is nutrient depleted, it can affect your Qi production and cause low energy. A ‘Qi Deficiency’ is the most easily corrected state.

A ‘Blood Deficiency’ in TCM may be from someone with anaemia (low iron), loss of blood (commonly from a period or trauma), a poor diet or chronic illness. This pattern is associated with feeling fatigued after exertion, dizziness or dull headaches (this is Judy).

Phlegm is caused from a body that doesn’t metabolise fluids well, or a diet rich in greasy foods or dairy. When fluids or foods aren’t metabolised properly they can cause dampness, and if left untreated, chronic dampness can turn to phlegm. This can lead to a tiredness that is associated with a heavy, sluggish feeling in your body, a foggy head and poor concentration (this is Bob).

Using TCM principles, our Acupuncturist, Sian, can identify the individual pattern that each person is presenting with, to ensure that the cause is being treated.  Through the delicate and traditional practice of TCM and Acupuncture, Sian can bring the body and all its energies back into balance to have you feeling your best.