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What is Acupuncture? 




A Simple Definition of Acupuncture - Health through Harmony
  • Acupuncture consists of introducing fine needles at strategic points of the body to restore energy balance, that is to say, health. According to Chinese medicine, a balanced person is a healthy person. It is when the balance in unsettled that discomfort appears. 

  • It is a holistic medicine which means it considers the person as a whole by taking into account both physical and psychological aspects.

  • Originally from China, acupuncture is also present in Japan, Vietnam, Korea, and all over Asia. The techniques may differ.

  • Now officially recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National institute of Health (NIHL), acupuncture was included in Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2010.


Energy (Qi- /chee/), Meridians, and Points
  • Our body has 12 primary meridians on which 361 acupuncture points lie.

  • Acupuncture assumes the existence of vital energy, called  “Qi” (pronounced “chee”), which is essential for life to circulate throughout the body via a network of meridians. These meridians or pathways carry the energy around the body.  Acupuncture points are found along the path of the meridians at specific locations.


The Acupuncturist, a Detective
  • When you first meet your acupuncturist, she will ask you many questions related to the reason of your consultation but also about your general health and your background. Then, she will write down your overall energy balance.

  • To establish an energetic diagnosis, the acupuncturist uses questioning but also other tools.


TCM Diagnostic Tools
  • Questioning: five elements and 8 diagnostic rules (Yin/Yang, empty/full, hot/cold, internal/external)

  • Observation of the tongue

  • Checking the pulse

  • General observation: complexion, eyes and posture.


Diagnostic tools allow us to diagnose energy. The acupuncturist then develops his therapeutic orientation and selects points.

Acupuncture is an art so the selection of points and the approach can vary from one therapist to another. It is normal, even desirable.


The Five Elements and Yin/Yang Theory
  • The Five Elements and Yin/Yang are the basis of the TCM theory. Everyday, the acupuncturist works with these concepts to try to understand each person, each imbalance.

  • Everyone has heard about Yin and Yang. We all remember the symbol that represents them. A circle made of two large commas, one white and one black and fitting into each other. On the white side there is a black dot and on the black side there is a white dot. Yin and Yang are two phases of a cyclical movement. Opposite and complementary, they both carry the germ of the other. So, in each Yin, there is a part of Yang and in each Yang, a part of Yin.


The Five Elements
  • The Five Elements Theory is an analytical framework that helps the acupuncturist recognize and classify the signs and symptoms of a person.Based on your answers, it is possible to see if one of your organs is lacking or in excess. For example, many people have the Liver in excess in our society. Indeed, stress, tobacco, coffee and alcohol affect it. The Liver in fullness may result in a series of discomforts such as menstrual pains, PMS, migraines, irritability, etc. By being constantly in excess, the Liver will attack the Heart and Spleen and can cause insomnia, anxiety and digestive problems such as heartburn and gastric reflux. In practice, it is important to calm the liver but also to strengthen the Heart and Spleen.

  • ”The Five Elements are not part of nature, rather five fundamental processes, five characteristics, five phases of the same cycle or five potential changes inherent to any phenomenon.” ~"Five Elements"  The Five Elements are closely related to each other. An imbalance in an organ inevitable affects another organ. “The theory defines a set of interactions between the five Movements. They are the cycles of generation and control”. ~Maciocia Each element is associated with an organ, an emotion, a flavor, a season, a color…

Dawn - Jean-Yves Thibaudet
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