Stress is one of the major causes of illness in modern society. With the large amount of hours that one spends in the office, work and family related deadlines, and the general push for productivity over health it is no wonder that stress related illness is so prominent. How then can we manage this stress?
Stress and the reason it may affect someone is a very personal issue. Every single patient I see for stress have different triggers, experiences, and histories that lead to different manifestations of stress within them. That is why many people turn to acupuncture and Chinese medicine – it addresses the individual in every element of its practice. In this way Acupuncture provides a customized approach to the patient. It is rare that a practitioner would administer the same treatment for two patients that present with the same problem.
So how does it work? What is involved in a treatment? And where can one find a practitioner?
Acupuncture is a dynamic modality within the Chinese medical tradition. Based in the ancient cultural approaches of China an acupuncture practitioner will approach the body in a very different manner to orthodox medicine. Acupuncture approaches the body as an integrated whole that is not just connected but also integrated with that bodies mind. In Chinese medicine the internal organs (zangfu) each have their own mental and emotional counterparts that, if disturbed, can cause as much psychological harm as they can physically.
Patients who may suffer from stress related illness may have signs and symptoms such as: headache, neck and shoulder pain, fatigue, digestive complaints, chest pains and breathing difficulties, visual disturbances, menstrual problems (pain, irregular etc), infertility, sexual dysfunction and skin disorders (such as eczema or psoriasis). Sometimes these conditions can present by themselves or in combination and naturally there are variations in degree of severity too.
What a patient can expect in Acupuncture treatment really depends on the acupuncturist (experience, qualifications, etc) and the disorders the patients present with. In the style of Acupuncture practiced by David White (known as Neijing Classical Acupuncture) the approach is to ensure that all elements of the inner and outer landscape of the body are taken into account. What this entails is a minimalist approach (gentle, yet very precise needling methods), which in turn yields very fast and long lasting results. In general the diagnostic procedure includes in depth pulse analysis, palpatory diagnosis of the channels, muscles, and abdomen, questioning and other assessment methods.
When looking for a practitioner it is very important that you ensure they are appropriately qualified. In Australia qualified practitioners are members of the Australian Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Association (AACMA) and globally Classical Acupuncturists are members of the International Society for the Study of Classical Acupuncture (ISSCA).