What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the oldest healing therapies in the world, in which very fine needles are inserted into the skin at designated points (acupuncture points) which are chosen for their therapeutic effect. It originated in China, spreading to other parts of Asia and, eventually, the West. The earliest written record of its use goes back about 2500 years and it may be as much as 4000 years old.

Acupuncture works on the premise of Yin and Yang and keeping everything in balance, when there is balance a feeling of homeostasis and wellbeing occur. In Chinese Medicine, energy pathways also known as meridians run along the body and Qi or chi is the energy flow which is referred to as one’s life force that runs through the meridians. When the energy flow or qi becomes disrupted or there is too little or too much qi, imbalance occurs creating disharmony or physical symptoms within the body, mind or spirit. By manipulating the acupuncture points, acupuncture treatment helps the body’s natural healing process and works to restore balance. Energy imbalances or congested energy flow can create or accentuate pain or impede the body’s natural ability to heal itself, so creating a balanced environment is key.

What Accupuncture Treats

Acupuncture has for many years been recognised as being effective for various types of chronic and acute muscular pains, but Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncture is aimed at treating the whole person, rather than specific symptoms in isolation and can therefore also be effective for a wide range of conditions.

The British Acupuncture Council offer factsheets for various conditions that can be downloaded on their website.

Back Pain
Neck Pain
Knee Pain
Frozen Shoulder
Gynaecological Symptoms
Hormonal Imbalances
Unexplained Infertility
Menopausal Symptoms
Digestive Complaints
Bladder Problems
Ear, Nose and Throat Conditions

What affects Qi Energy & Flow

Qi is affected by many influences, such as our fast-modern pace of life, hereditary factors, changes in the weather and seasons, environment, habits, emotions, viruses, bacteria, medication, stress, smoking, alcohol, bad diet, body injury, electromagnetic radiation, environmental toxins (like petrol fumes or other chemicals), recreational drugs, etc.

What To Expect From Treatment

People often ask does acupuncture hurt? Needles are very fine and there are several sensations that people may experience when the needle is being inserted such as aching, heat or an electrical sensation and often people feel nothing at all.

The first treatment usually takes around 90 minutes, which will involve a discussion about your health, medical history, diet, exercise habits, digestion, energy levels, sleeping and sometimes your personal history and any issues you wish addressing. Your tongue and pulse will then be examined. I will then have a picture of your overall health and decide on a treatment plan.

On your first treatment minimal needling may occur so I can see how you react to acupuncture. In a typical treatment between 4 and 20 needles may be used.

It is normal to have a course of acupuncture treatment with the frequency and length of treatment depending on your individual condition. Acute conditions often respond quickly and only 2 or 3 treatments maybe needed, although if you have a history of similar problems then a longer course may well be required for a lasting improvement. Similarly, chronic ongoing conditions tend to respond more slowly, although some benefit is normally experienced within the first few treatments.

Tips to get the most out of your treatment

Please do not consume alcohol before a treatment and keep stimulants such as coffee and tea to a minimum.

It is best not to have acupuncture directly after a large meal. If you have a tendency towards feeling light-headed then also please ensure that it is not too long since you last had something to eat.

Although there are points all over the body the most commonly used ones are on the limbs below the elbow and below the knee. For this reason, it is helpful if tights are not worn and clothing is loose enough to be rolled up to the elbow or knee.

Please be aware that after treatment changes can occur - such as to your appetite, bowel or urination patterns or emotional state. This is simply an indication that the body is starting to rebalance itself & is nothing to be concerned about. Some patients feel 'spaced out' after a treatment or just deeply relaxed & sleepy. Care must obviously be taken if returning to work or driving after a treatment.

The World Health Organisation has produced a list of conditions for which acupuncture has been proven to be an effective treatment.

The British Acupuncture Council has produced a series of fact sheets, which summarise the evidence base for the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment in about 60 commonly treated conditions.