Acupuncture is one of the oldest health care systems in the world, being practiced for over 5000 years with its origins in ancient China. Today, it is an effective, natural and increasing popular treatment for a wide range of health ailments.
How does acupuncture work?
Very fine, single use needles are inserted into specific acupuncture points along the body’s meridians, to regulate and maintain free flow of Qi (energy) within the body, clear blockages, to nourish and restore functions to the organs, and bring the body back to its natural, happy homeostasis. Acupuncture calms the nervous system and reduces stress hormones in the body.
The needles are retained between 10 – 45 minutes, depending on the client and treatment aim.
Health benefits of Acupuncture:
- Effectively treats a wide range of acute and chronic health ailments
- A great form of preventative medicine, maintaining general well being of the body and assisting in the prevention of disease, stress and illness – sometimes the best time to get Acupuncture is when you are feeling good!
- Is a drug-free option for pain relief
- Holistic approach of medicine that works on the body, mind, emotions and spirit; always treating the underlying root cause and not just the symptoms
Does it hurt?
Acupuncture is not a painful or uncomfortable experience. Sensations vary, but people report feeling a slight achiness, a dullness or heavy feeling. Acupuncture points may feel different to one another, and the sensation may vary slightly with each treatment, depending on how out of balanced the body is. The practitioners at Shift always work in with what the client feels comfortable with.
*Sanitation is of utmost importance. All needles used at Shift Natural Medicine are sterile, single use and are disposed of as per AACMA registration guidelines.
WHAT CAN ACUPUNCTURE HELP?
Acupuncture is known to treat a wide range of acute and chronic health ailments, including but not limited to;
- WOMEN’S HEALTH: Irregular cycle, Period pain, PMS, Hormonal imbalance, PCOS, Endometriosis, Menopause
- EMOTIONAL WELLBEING: Anxiety, Depression, Stress, Addictions and Withdrawal Support
- SLEEP: Insomnia, Night sweats, Sleep Quality
- DIGESTION: Bloating, Gas, Indigestion, Diarrhoea, Constipation, Nausea
- SKIN: Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis, Cosmetic
- RESPIRATORY: Allergies, Asthma, Sinusitis, Cough, Cold + Flu
- ENERGY: Chronic Fatigue, Lethargy, Waking up tired
- PAIN: Injury, Muscle Aches, Headaches, Migraines, TMJ, Sciatica, Fibromyalgia
THE FIRST SPECIAL WEEKS OF PREGNANCY
During those first special weeks of pregnancy, regular acupuncture treatments are designed to reduce anxiety, promote healthy sleep, keep the body balanced, and reduce those early pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, headaches, fatigue, diarrhoea and constipation.
We like to call these sessions ‘Holding Treatments’ as they are aimed at holding the pregnancy and encouraging local blood flow to the area.
Acupuncture is known to have an immune-modulating effect, this is important at the very beginning of pregnancy to reduce the risk of rejection on the embryo from the mother’s immune system.
We find the mums-to-be love the ongoing support, reassurance and education from their practitioner during these treatments.
We recommend weekly acupuncture treatments until week 12 of pregnancy.
A HAPPY, HEALTHY + CALM PREGNANCY JOURNEY
Now you have moved out of the 1st trimester, (or as some like to say ‘out of the haze’) now is the time to relax and let your body do its magic; keep growing your beautiful baby.
If you are feeling well, we encourage you to check in with us for acupuncture treatments every 4 weeks, to keep the body calm and balanced. However, if symptoms develop or are severe, we recommend coming in weekly.
During your pregnancy, we may help with the following:
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Diarrhoea and Constipation
- Anxiety, Depression and Mood swings
- Back pain, Sciatica, Carpel tunnel, Leg Cramps
- Skin rashes
- Cold and Flu, Sinusitis
We recommend monthly acupuncture treatments during the 2nd and 3rd trimester, or if you are feeling unwell, we recommend weekly.
PRE-LABOUR + INDUCTION TREATMENTS
Acupuncture for induction is a treatment plan aimed to increase the chance of naturally occurring labour without medical intervention. Treatments are designed to increase blood flow to the uterus, help move bub into place, soften the cervix and calm the mind of soon-to-be mum. Acupuncture treatments ideally commence around 36 weeks, however you may commence induction treatments later if you have missed this time.
It is important to note that acupuncture will not bring on labour if mum’s body and bub are not ready. Practitioners do not aim to interfere with natural hormone changes during this time but rather, support the natural process and decrease the likelihood for medical induction.
In 2008 the Cochrane Collaboration reviewed three recent trials of 212 women comparing acupuncture used for third trimester cervical ripening/labour induction. The review suggested women receiving acupuncture required less use of other induction methods compared with women receiving standard care alone.
We recommend starting treatments at 36 or 37 weeks gestation, starting with one weekly treatment. These sessions are aimed at moving bub into place, loosening ligaments and tendons in the hips and pelvis, and relaxing Mum and baby. From 38 weeks we suggest increasing treatments to twice weekly. Treatments are focused on creating a down-bearing action and increasing blood flow and energy to the uterus. Treatments may also address any other concerns of symptoms you may be experiencing such as stress, anxiety, sleep disturbances, headaches etc. Many women report an increase in bub’s movements during treatments and occasionally gentle abdominal tightening.
One in four babies will present by breech during the pregnancy with the majority of them moving into natural position by 34 weeks. If this is not the case for you and you would like to avoid the likelihood of c-section, acupuncture can help.
Acupuncture and the traditional Chinese medicine method of moxibustion are commonly used to turn a breech baby. Clinical experience suggests most success occurs at 33-35 weeks gestation with some babies also turning later. There are some cases were practitioners prefer not to attempt turning breech babies such as in twin pregnancies or in patients with high blood pressure. A detailed discussion will precede acupuncture to ensure treatment is safe for mum and bub.
The use of acupuncture in conjunction with IVF is a growing area of interest with more clinical trials being performed supporting the positive relationship between these two unlikely partners.
Acupuncture during the IVF cycle, especially around the time of embryo transfer is associated with increased success in chance of pregnancy.
Acupuncture before and during the IVF cycle is also beneficial for mood, emotional support and stress relief – all of which are of great importance during this challenging and often tedious journey towards parenthood.
How does acupuncture support IVF?
- Acupuncture can help manage symptoms and side-effects associated with IVF medications
- Acupuncture reduces stress, anxiety and depression
- Acupuncture increases blood flow to the uterus and ovaries
- Acupuncture may modulate endocrine factors thus, improve hormone levels
- Acupuncture has been shown to improve implantation rates post embryo transfer
- Acupuncture in males can improve sperm quality and motility
OUR TREATMENT PROTOCOLS
Pre IVF Preparation
Ideally we begin working with patients for three months prior to an IVF cycle to allow the address of any health issues, lifestyle or environmental factors that may be affecting fertility.
If you have missed this preparation phase of acupuncture do not worry, acupuncture is still beneficial at any stage of the journey and we will tailor our treatments to accommodate.
The Medication Phase
Acupuncture treatments are aimed at increasing blood supply to the uterus and ovaries and balancing hormones.
Post Egg Collection
Acupuncture is recommended within 24 hours of egg collection to reduce local inflammation and aid preparation of implantation.
We recommend pre and post transfer treatments for embryo transfer. Pre transfer treatments are ideally done in the 24 hours leading up the transfer. Post transfer treatments are often done on the day of transfer but within the following 24 hours is also fine.
“The two week wait”
This is usually a time of high stress, anxiety and sleep disturbances thus, acupuncture treatments are aimed to calm the mind, reduce stress hormones and provide emotional support for the patient.
The treatment schedule for any of the above stages involves 1-2 treatments per week.
Clinical experience has shown us that stress and emotional support should never be ignored during the IVF cycle and thus, all our treatments take into consideration all aspects of the individual’s health, both mental and physical. We do this whilst always focusing on the main goal of achieving healthy pregnancy leading to birth.
References available upon request.
ANXIETY + DEPRESSION
We love using acupuncture to treat anxiety and depression as we find it has an instantaneous affect on our clients moods during and after the treatment.
There is a selection of amazing acupuncture points used to calm an overactive and anxious mind, and promote the feeling of being ‘grounded.’ Points that help to clear blockages (known as the Four gates) and ‘uplift’ may help with depression and low mood.
Acupuncture may and assist with sleep difficulties, fatigue, headaches and digestive complaints that often accompany mental health conditions. Acupuncture has been shown to actually calm the nervous system and release endorphins from the brain, and studies have discovered acupuncture can reduce stress hormones, thus an ideal treatment option for anxiety and depression.
Cosmetic acupuncture, or Facial Rejuvenation, helps reduce acne, scarring, pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles by diagnosing facial weakness areas (where wrinkles or fine lines occur first) through ruri face diagnosis. The underlying organ disharmony or weakness is then treated simultaneously with body points using the cosmetic acupuncture treatment.
Following the initial consult and diagnosis, acupuncture needles are placed on the body to correct the imbalances that are causing ageing in the face. Very fine acupuncture needles are then inserted into the appropriate areas of the face using a special technique designed to maximise treatment results.
These facial acupuncture needles promote collagen production, blood flow to the face, and create mini ‘micro-traumas’ where your skin then produces new cells to heal, all leaving your skin plump, moisturised and glowing.
Factors affecting skin damage
Factors that affect skin damage and cause wrinkles are: smoking, heredity, occupation and recreational sun exposure, diet, stress, lack of sleep, excessive exercise, rapid weight loss, lifestyle and pollution.
The best time to commence cosmetic acupuncture is in the late twenties and early thirties when the first signs of ageing appear. The skins natural renewal process declines after the age of 28, so the earlier you start cosmetic acupuncture the better results.
When will I expect results?
You will definitely notice a difference after the first treatment; your face is brighter and lifted. But the real results take place 4 to 6 weeks after the body’s natural cell renewal process takes place and new skin cells come through.
How many treatments do I need?
The recommended treatment plan is twice per week for the first 6 weeks then once per week until 12 weeks. After then its maintenance, recommendation is once every 6-8 weeks. It is advised to complete the 12 weeks for maximum results. And to acquire a dermal roller, dermal hammer and rose hip oil for home maintenance in between treatments.