What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture originated in China and other far eastern cultures where it still features in mainstream healthcare, both as a stand-alone therapy and in combination with conventional western medicine. Acupuncture is a safe and effective form of treatment that is increasingly popular all around the world. There is a growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating a whole range of health problems. In the UK more and more people are finding out what acupuncture can do for them.
What does Acupuncture do?
Acupuncture works to help maintain your body’s equilibrium. It involves the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body to regulate the flow of ‘qi’, your body’s vital energy. For a number of lifestyle and environmental reasons, qi can become disturbed, depleted or blocked, which can result in some symptoms of pain and illness or. In certain instances, traditional acupuncture can be an effective therapy to help restore balance and promote physical and emotional harmony.
Who has Acupuncture?
Many people come to acupuncture for help with specific symptoms or to relieve specific pain like osteoarthritis of the knee. Some use acupuncture because they feel generally unwell but have no obvious diagnosis. Others choose acupuncture simply to enhance their feeling of wellbeing. It can be used effectively alongside conventional medicine and will not interfere with any medication you are taking.
What can it do for me?
Most people turn to acupuncture for help with a specific symptom or condition. Others choose to have treatment to help maintain good health, as a preventive measure, or simply to improve their general sense of wellbeing. Because traditional acupuncture aims to treat the whole person rather than specific symptoms in isolation, it can be effective for a range of conditions. I focus on treating the person, not just the condition which they have, so each patient’s treatment plan will be different. Many people return to acupuncture again and again because they find it so beneficial and relaxing.
In 2009 the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommended that acupuncture should be made available on the NHS, as a cost-effective short-term treatment for the management of early, persistent non-specific lower back pain.
Please do email me if you have any questions or wonder whether acupuncture might help you.
What happens during Acupuncture?
At your first appointment I will spend time talking about why you have come to have acupuncture and taking a history so I have all the information I need to make a diagnosis. I may also talk about any dietary or lifestyle changes that may help you. Traditional acupuncture is a whole person approach, so the focus is on the whole person not just symptoms. I will especially use any scientific evidence about health and lifestyle to assist your particular issues.
You will have an acupuncture treatment at your first appointment, though it may be shorter than subsequent treatments. It is a good idea to have a gentle treatment the first time you experience acupuncture so that you can see what it’s like, and I can see how you react.
During subsequent appointments we will begin by catching up with how you are feeling and talking about any changes you’ve noticed.
You do not usually need to remove any clothes for an acupuncture treatment, but if you do (e.g. to access points on your back), we will make sure you are covered with a towel and not cold.
What does it feel like?
Acupuncture needles are extremely fine, and solid rather than hollow – not at all like the needles that doctors and dentists normally use.
You may not be aware of any sensation while the acupuncture needles are being inserted, though once they are in place you may feel a dull ache or tingling sensation around the needle. People often feel a heaviness in their limbs and very relaxed during treatment.
Acupuncture needles are normally left in place for about 20 minutes, which gives you a chance to rest. Occasionally the needles may only be left in for just a couple of seconds.
How many acupuncture appointments will I need?
The number of treatments needed varies depending on each individual and the condition being treated. Normally more simple or recent problems can be helped more quickly than more complicated or longstanding ones.
As a general rule, we hope to see improvement within 3 – 6 sessions.