By Monique van de Elzen: Auckland Acupuncture Practitioner from Acupuncture Studio:
I am often asked: “How does Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acupuncture differ from the acupuncture that people can receive from their GP, Physiotherapist, Osteopath, Midwife or Chiropractor.”
Acupuncture as practiced by your GP, Physiotherapist, Osteopath, Midwife or Chiropractor is known as medical/western acupuncture or dry needling. This style of acupuncture is becoming common place due to many discovering its benefits. A medical practitioner is able to practice this form of acupuncture with limited training –often just a few weekend courses.
A traditionally trained and qualified Acupuncturist is required to complete a full-time four year course to degree level. I completed 5 weekend acupuncture courses as a young physiotherapist and then went on to retrain as a traditional Acupuncturist and completed a four year degree.
The acupuncture training that a GP, Physiotherapist, Osteopath, Chiropractor or Midwife receives is a lot shorter essentially because they do not train in Chinese medical theory and because they already have anatomical knowledge. Frequently this treatment will be aimed at relieving myofascial trigger points (painful points on the body) and not stimulating actual acupuncture points.
I have extensive training in this type of acupuncture as it does yield some impressive results but I have many other skills at my disposal other than just this one technique.
Traditional acupuncturists are trained to use subtle diagnostic techniques that have been developed and refined for centuries. These techniques are based on the belief system that health is dependent on a person’s qi or vital energy.
Each patient is unique; two people with the same western diagnosis may well receive different acupuncture diagnosis and treatments. The underlying principle of treatment is that illness and pain occur when the body’s qi, cannot flow freely. There can be many reasons for this; emotional and physical stress, poor nutrition, infection or injuries are among the most common.
By inserting ultra-fine sterile needles into specific acupuncture points, a traditional acupuncturist seeks to re-establish the free flow of qi to restore balance and trigger the body’s natural healing response.
Using these diagnostic techniques I commonly I find that a person’s injury is a manifestation of something more, and there is often an underlying imbalance at work. If the injury is treated only with local points, you may achieve relief of pain, but it is likely the injury will reoccur. Treating the ‘whole’ person will achieve faster and longer lasting results. You may be surprised to discover what ailments acupuncture can treat and relieve.
Acupuncture Auckland: NZRA Membership
Something to be aware of is that, in Auckland and anywhere in New Zealand, practising acupuncture is not a restricted activity. Anyone can put a sign up saying that they are an Acupuncturist. I suggest if you are looking for an Acupuncturist, that you ensure they are registered with the New Zealand Register of Acupuncturists (NZRA). This will provide assurance that they are fully qualified and supported by a qualified body of practitioners.
When you choose to visit a NZRA member you can be sure of:
- Bachelor of Science degree or an equivalent Diploma in acupuncture which included anatomy, physiology and other appropriate elements of western medicine. Three or four years of fulltime study of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
- Adherence to the Registers Codes of Safe Practice and Professional Conduct
- Compliance with current health and safety legislation
- Full medical malpractice and public/products liability insurance cover
- Up-to-date practice skills maintained by mandatory continuing professional development
The NZRA is New Zealand’s largest regulatory body for practitioners of traditional acupuncture. They maintain high standards of education, ethics, discipline, and practice. Their aim is to ensure the health and safety of the public at all times.
At Acupuncture Studio you can experience the style of acupuncture that best suits your needs.
If you live in or near Auckland city, give me a call for a chat or go ahead now and book your first appointment.