Acupuncture is a part of traditional Chinese Medicine which is always evolving and has been in use for over 2000 years. It is a valued and integrated part of the hospitals in China today. In a ‘nutshell’, traditional acupuncture uses acupuncture points on the meridians or ‘energy pathways’ to help the body to re-balance and heal itself.
Traditional acupuncturists are able to recognize patterns of disharmony that may underlie the symptoms that are to be treated. We give individualized treatment to each person to help restore harmony. As a result, many people find that it’s not just their initial condition or illness that improves, and many report an enhanced sense of overall well-being.
Acupuncture is probably best known as being good for pain. It is used for chronic painful conditions such as back pain, neck pain, knee pain, headaches and migraines. However it is good for so many other issues. From minor niggles to serious illness, acupuncture can play a role in supporting healing and well-being.
Whilst there has been research into the efficacy of acupuncture done in the UK and much more done globally, it is actually quite difficult to construct satisfactory methods of research, because acupuncture treatment involves so many hard to measure variables and there is also the difficulty of deciding on a sensible ‘control’ to compare outcomes with – ie: sham acupuncture or no acupuncture?
However, there is plenty of evidence of its efficacy in the world. In China it is still used along with modern medicine in todays hospitals.
To help provide more information, The British acupuncture council have compiled a directory of fact sheets for many different health conditions, each of which you can click on for a summary of information about that condition and about research into the efficacy of acupuncture for that condition. View A-Z of factsheets..
A style of acupuncture developed through the western scientific method, in the 1950s, which can dramatically reduce pain, and improve the flexibility and movement of muscles and joints. The way it works is to ‘deactivate’ the trigger points within the muscles which have often caused patterns of pain. The pain caused by trigger points can be intense, and may be experienced in parts of the body some distance from the body of the muscle itself.
Acupuncture has much to offer in terms of pain relief and pain management for many types of chronic condition.
Acupuncture needles are not what you might expect. They are very fine and flexible and not at all like the needles for blood tests or injections that you may have had at the doctors. Most people describe the sensation created by them as a mild, dull ache. Some people feel tingling or warmth and some needles are not felt at all. Sometimes it can be a fairly strong sensation for a short while.
Overall, acupuncture is a surprisingly enjoyable experience.
Acupuncture is one of the safest medical treatments, both conventional and complementary, on offer in the UK.
Two surveys conducted independently of each other and published in the British Medical Journal in 2001 concluded that the risk of a serious adverse reaction to acupuncture is less than 1 in 10,000. This is far less than many orthodox medical treatments.
There are very few side effects from acupuncture when practised by a fully qualified practitioner. Any minor side effects that do occur, such as dizziness or bruising around needle points, are mild and self-correcting.
I only use pre-sterilised single-use needles which are safely disposed of after your treatment.
Every person is different, and acupuncture does work better for some people than for others. You do not need to ‘believe in it’ for it to work. However if you positively engage with the process, you can get the best results out of your treatment.
Overall Acupuncture has been identified by the British Medical Association as being the top complementary treatment, with the majority of GPs wishing to see it more widely available on the NHS.
Occasionally a small bruise can appear at a needle site. Sometimes people can feel dizzy or tired after a treatment but this passes quickly.
Massage contributes to some of the acupuncture treatments. My massage is grounded in anatomy and the meridian system of Chinese medicine and an ‘awareness’ or sensitivity of touch developed over many years of practice.