Rediscovering our natural ability to heal
Oana Iancu, owner and founder of Sacred Dao Acupuncture Clinic in Amsterdam, is an experienced acupuncturist who combines Chinese medicine therapies to restore and maintain health. Her holistic and personalised treatments are helping patients with a wide range of conditions and are available in English, Spanish, German, Portuguese, French and Romanian.
Chinese medicine is an ancient health system that encourages a meaningful and balanced way of life, promoting health and well-being by nurturing the body, mind and spirit in harmony with the rhythms of nature and its universal laws. Its principles and practices help us understand and reconnect with our natural abilities to heal and thrive.
The Chinese considered the seasonal changes to be the most enlightening teacher on how to flow and adapt to the continuously changing circumstances of life. They understood that our body, mind and spirit have very similar rhythms to the natural cycles and used this knowledge to cultivate their health and wellbeing.
Getting up when the sun rises, eating what grows in each season, engaging in the right amount of physical activity, and keeping our emotions in check are important aspects that can help us keep our immune systems and organs strong so that we can ward off diseases.
“Health, vitality and longevity are obtained by one who does not swim against the current, but who flows along in the current that life manifests around oneself in this moment, in this time.” (Rooted in Spirit, C. Larre & E. Rochat de la Vallée).
Really listening to our bodies
The human body is an incredible system which functions to ensure homeostasis at every level, however, if we repeatedly overlook the signals indicating that some things need to be addressed or changed, our health will gradually deteriorate.
Each individual constitution is different, therefore some people will feel it sooner, others later. Some will feel it at a physical level through pain or tension, high blood pressure, skin rashes, palpitations and so on, and others at an emotional/mental level through feelings of anxiety, depression, worry, lack of concentration or insomnia. In most cases, the imbalance will manifest both physically and emotionally.
The incredibly fast pace of our times has been making it harder and harder to be in tune with the cycles of the year and cultivate lifestyles that support us. We live in a world that constantly challenges us, and more often than not we tend to ignore our real needs until it is too late.
More than ever before, this last year’s events have shown us how important it is to turn our attention to ourselves, to reconsider and prioritise what is actually good for us while also realising the impact of our actions on the outside environment.
Quick fixes versus the holistic approach
Most of us tend to turn to the conventional solutions for our everyday complaints, such as taking painkillers for our headache, shoulder pain or menstrual pain, antihistamines for hay fever and so on. Although this may offer temporary relief, if we want to prevent our condition from getting worse or achieve long-term results, we will need to look deeper.
The approach offered by Chinese medicine focuses on the whole picture of an individual, taking into account their constitution, their needs and the context of their life, rather than applying one-size-fits-all treatments. The goal of an acupuncture treatment is to activate the natural self-healing abilities of each patient’s body, nurturing what is deficient, clearing what is in excess and releasing what is blocked.
It can also strengthen and support the body to prevent future illness and disease from manifesting. In fact, one of the core principles of Chinese medicine is to focus on disease prevention. The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic, one of the oldest Chinese medicine texts, affirms that waiting until a disease has developed before trying to treat it, is like starting to dig a well when you are already thirsty.
What can acupuncture treat and how many sessions do I need?
Acupuncture can treat a wide range of conditions, such as pain, mental-emotional imbalances, digestive, cardiovascular, respiratory, or gynaecological issues, and so on. Acupuncture can be used either as a primary treatment or as a support treatment together with Western medicine. For instance, it can facilitate recovery in post-operative cases, it can alleviate the side-effects of chemotherapy and it can improve the success rate of fertility treatments.
The number of acupuncture treatments and their regularity depends on each individual condition, but as a general rule, six to ten regular treatments are necessary in order to restore the mind-body-spirit balance and achieve the relief of presenting symptoms. The appointments are usually once a week, however, some chronic or more severe conditions may require more regular sessions.
Once the treatments have started to take effect, the sessions will gradually become less frequent (every other week/once a month), the aim being to consolidate the results and balance achieved. Maintenance sessions are highly recommended (most commonly once a month), especially in the case of more serious or long-term health concerns.
One of the classical Chinese medical texts defines the action of the needles in an acupuncture treatment as “attracting the spirit”, which can also be translated to attracting the mind or awareness. When we focus our mind and consciousness during the treatment, as well as in our daily lives, we initiate our own healing. Acupuncture treatments can support us in developing more awareness in our bodies, taking the time to relax and release, to look within, reconnecting with our healing potential and inner wisdom, which we all have but are usually too busy to notice.
Patient and practitioner working as a team
Alongside the acupuncture treatments, the practitioner formulates personalised lifestyle advice (diet, exercise, stress management, sleep habits etc.) in order to complement the treatment and improve overall health.
The goal is to ensure the patient feels empowered to understand how their body works so they can make their desired adjustments. Making changes is a gradual process and is not always easy, therefore a close collaboration between patient and practitioner is fundamental.
What does the science say?
The benefits of acupuncture are supported by scientific research, which has documented a wide range of conditions. The British Acupuncture Council has been putting together fact sheets that outline the main evidence produced by the ongoing research and is constantly updating and adding the newest findings. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the National Institute for Health (NIH) also recognise the effectiveness of acupuncture and offer access to the continuously growing research evidence.
Does health insurance cover acupuncture?
The good news is that more and more insurance companies in the Netherlands, as well as some international ones, are covering the costs of acupuncture treatments, making it more affordable for patients.
Oana Iancu is an authorised member of De Nederlandse Vereniging voor Acupunctuur (NVA), therefore the Sacred Dao Acupuncture Clinic treatment costs can be claimed from most health insurance providers.