Acupuncture is an ancient healing art developed by the Chinese over 5000 years ago. Its philosophy and principles are so solid that they have changed little with time, and have now been validated by modern scientific research.

In order to understand acupuncture it helps to appreciate some aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine [of which acupuncture forms an integral part]. Acupuncture is often used together with Chinese herbs, massage, and nutritional advice.

 For all living systems in the human body to function properly, and to work in harmony, they have to maintain balance. The Chinese have described this balance in terms of yin and yang, which represent opposite pole e.g. up and down, light and dark, cold and hot, male and female etc. They are graphically represented by the well-known symbol  

The Life Force, Chi or Qi [pronounced “chee”] is said to circulate throughout the body with a diurnal [daily] rhythm to maintain the balance between yin and yang. This energy moves along pathways or meridians, which the Chinese have charted very precisely over thousands of years. There are 14 meridians, which link all the acupuncture points together. In a state of health, the Qi flows along these meridians without interruption. In disease or injury, this flow is interrupted or blocked, resulting in stagnation of the Qi, which produces the symptoms of pain, stiffness, swelling, etc.

Qi can be accessed and manipulated via acupuncture points, which are small windows into this energy system of the body. The acupuncture points can be activated by means of needles, finger pressure, heat, suction cups, laser beams, or the SCIO. The correct stimulation of the relevant acupuncture points stores the free-flow of Qi, which results in relief of pain, improvement in function, and return of the body to health.


[a] Acupuncture needles are very slender and made of stainless steel, copper, or other metals. The sizes vary from a 3mm stud used on the earlobe, to 15cm long needles used in deep muscles. The insertion of a needle should not be painful, apart from the initial prick; this is followed by a deeper “needling sensation”, which is similar to the sensation experienced when bumping a “funny bone”. This indicates that the Qi has been successfully stimulated.

[b] Electro-acupuncture: In certain circumstances it may be necessary to attach electrical clips to some of the needles so that they can be electrically stimulated with an almost imperceptible current.

[c] Moxibustion: Certain conditions such as osteo-arthritis, may require heat, which can be applied by burning the herb Artemisia vulgaris [Mugwort] on the needles or near the acupuncture points. This painless but very effective treatment is also called “moxa”.

[d] Laser acupuncture: If all this talk about needles is making you squirm, there is an alternative; acupuncture points can also be effectively stimulated with a low energy laser beam, which is harmless and painless. Many clinical acupuncturists use a laser, which is a modern Western modification. Laser has the distinct advantage of being able to treat children, and those with a needle phobia. They have several other advantages:

  • Speeding up the healing of injured tissues e.g. ulcers and fever blisters, following injury or surgery.
  • Stimulating circulation.
  • Reducing inflammation.
  • Stimulating new cell growth.
  • Reducing fibrous tissue formation e.g. following burns and surgery.


Acupuncture should be the treatment of choice for the following:

  • All back problems including sciatica, lumbago, pinched nerves, muscular spasms, stiff neck etc.
  • Headaches and migraines.
  • Shingles and neuralgia.

Acupuncture is also very useful in the following painful conditions:

  • Rheumatic and arthritic conditions e.g. tennis elbow, fibrositis, frozen shoulder, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Sports injuries and repetitive strain injuries [RSI].
  • Neurological problems such as trigeminal neuralgia and Bell’s palsy.
  • Dysmenorrhoea and spastic colon.

Acupuncture is often used in treating a vast range of other acute and chronic conditions such as:

  • Allergies e.g. hayfever, sinusitis, asthma, and eczema.
  • Addictions (you can find more treatment options at
  • General improvement of function, strengthening the immune system, and management of stress.


Pages: 1 2


Greenhouse Health
9 The Mead
Cape Town
South Africa
ph: +27 (0)21 531 3545
e: Email Us