The meditative calm of the Caribbean seems like a pretty good place to start when it comes to a holistic approach to health, and The BodyHoliday’s Taoist Practitioner,Toby Maguire is an expert on the matter. Qualified in Korean and Auricular Acupuncture as well as Thai Massage, Chi Nei Tsang, Reiki, Tai Chi and Qi Gong, who better to explain the benefits and fine art of acupuncture?
What exactly is acupuncture?
There are various different forms, but generally the treatment uses fine needles on specific trigger points throughout the body to stimulate the energy flow, immune and endocrine systems in specific areas of the body, bringing them back into balance.
Where does it come from?
Acupuncture was developed in China more than 2,500 years ago.
What is it supposed to do?
The classical Chinese explanation is that channels of energy run in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. These energy channels, called meridians, pass like rivers, irrigating and nourishing the tissues. An obstruction in the movement of these energy rivers is like a dam that backs up creating imbalances in the body.
The meridians can be influenced by needling the acupuncture points, unblocking the obstructions, and reestablishing the regular flow of energy. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body’s internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption, and energy production activities, and in the circulation of their energy through the meridians.
Is there anything you do to enhance the effectiveness of the treatment?
Sometimes, heat or small electrical currents can be attached to the needle to enhance its efficacy. In addition, cupping may also be used either along the energy line or on top of the needle. Cupping involves using round, glass cups that are heated inside to create a vacuum and which are then placed on the skin. The vacuum causes the skin to be sucked up into the glass cup, stimulating blood and energy flow to specific areas.
Is there anything you recommend clients to do pre or post-treatment to get the most out of it?
Absolutely – do not eat an unusually large meal immediately before or after your treatment; do not over-exercise, engage in sexual activity, or consume alcoholic beverages within six hours before or after the treatment; plan your activities so that afterwards you can get some rest, or at least not have to be working at top performance – this is especially important for the first few visits. Also, continue to take any prescription medicines as directed by your regular doctor.
Is there anyone you particularly recommend the treatment for?
While acupuncture is often associated with pain control, it has much broader applications. The World Health Organization recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of medical problems, including: digestive disorders – gastritis and hyperacidity, IBS, constipation, diarrhea; respiratory disorders such as sinusitis, sore throats, bronchitis, asthma, and recurrent chest infections; skin disorders including acne, eczema and psoriasis; and neurological and muscular disorders including headaches, migraines, neck pain , frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, various forms of tendinitis, lower back pain, sciatica, osteoarthritis. It can also be used for urinary, menstrual and reproductive problems.
Is there anyone who shouldn’t have this treatment?
Acupuncture should not be used to treat people with severe bleeding disorders (as it could increase the blood flow) or for women in early pregnancy when the foetus is at its most vulnerable. At such times, the body will be naturally adjusting its energy flow and therefore should not be interfered with. Also, electro acupuncture should not be used on people who have an implanted cardiac pacemaker.