How it works

acupuncturemeridiansAcupuncture is an ancient and holistic form of healing that originated in the East approximately 3,000 years ago. The aim of acupuncture treatment is to balance the energy flow of the body so that the body may heal itself, as well as it is able. The energy is known as Qi (pronounced chee).

HOW DOES ACUPUNCTURE WORK?

According to the Eastern Tradition of Medicine: Traditional Acupuncturists believe that where Qi becomes blocked pain and illness develop. Qi flows through channels, called meridians. Meridians traverse the body and run from head to toe. Acupuncture points are located along the meridians. There are 352 commonly used acupuncture points. Your acupuncturist will decide where your energy flow is not smooth and, by using needles, will gently release the blockage in order that your energy may flow smoothly and the body heal. Blockages in the flow of Qi may be due to physical, mental or psychological trauma.

Traditional Five Element Acupuncturists believe that the body does not function as a separate entity (like a machine) to the mind and spirit. It is sometimes very evident that emotional or mental stress manifests in physical symptoms such as headaches, indigestion, palpitations and bowel problems. It is also apparent that physical problems, such as chronic disease or severe pain, have a detrimental effect on our spirit and emotions; we may become depressed, tearful angry or frustrated. In Five Element Acupuncture, body, mind and spirit are treated as one and each person is considered as a unique individual.

Acupuncture’s popularity is growing and last year there were over 2 million acupuncture treatments in the UK.

According to the Western Tradition of Medicine: Acupuncture stimulates the release of natural pain killing and mood enhancing chemicals within the body. These are released in several areas of the body – around the needles, in the spinal cord where the nerves run, and in the brain. The release of these chemicals promotes healing and recovery.

Western research demonstrates that acupuncture plays an important part in the management of pain and chronic disease and can significantly decrease the amount of medication that is required. Research into acupuncture for the following treatments has shown positive statistically significant results: backache, headache, migraine, stress, depression, asthma, insomnia, arthritis, irregular or painful periods, high blood pressure, infertility.

Source: World Health Organisation

Jump to Will Acupuncture Help Me? and Cupping and Moxibustion

The first appointment will take approximately two hours and will include a Traditional Diagnosis and normally a first treatment. I’ll ask many questions about your current problem, medical and family history, sleep pattern, diet, lifestyle, work environment, home environment etc. I shall also need to know what medications you’re taking. All information is treated as strictly confidential and I am bound by the Codes of Ethics and Safe Practice of the British Acupuncture Council.

A physical examination will also be involved and I will ask you to undress down to your underwear. To preserve dignity, towels, covers and dressing gowns are available if required.

I will measure your blood pressure, undertake a gentle palpation of the abdomen, look at the structure of your back and look at your tongue. A major part of the diagnosis and treatment process involves taking pulses on the wrists.

The Traditional Diagnosis enables me to build a complete picture about how your energy is working and where blockages in your Qi may have occurred. I will study all of the information to devise a programme of treatment to treat you and the cause of your specific problem and not just your symptoms.

Following the Traditional Diagnosis I usually recommend that treatments should be taken once a week (for approximately 6 weeks) until improvements in your condition indicate that they may be spaced out. We may then decide that no further treatments are necessary or that they should be reduced to once a month, or once every three months at the change of the seasons, in order to maintain balance and health. Some people feel that acupuncture has had such a profoundly positive effect on their physical, mental and emotional health that they would not wish to stop their occasional ‘MOT’.

DO I HAVE TO BELIEVE IN ACUPUNCTURE FOR IT TO WORK?

Absolutely not. Many patients come for acupuncture and they don’t believe that it will be able to help them. Sadly, many people come as a last resort, believing that nothing can help them. Acupuncture does work even if you don’t believe in it! Acupuncture is also used to treat animals who are in pain or are generally ‘unwell’.

IS ACUPUNCTURE SAFE?

Yes. If you choose a practitioner who is a member of the British Acupuncture Council you can be assured that they will be properly trained, rigorously regulated and monitored. With such a practitioner there is less risk to acupuncture than taking many over-the-counter medications.

DOES ACUPUNCTURE HURT?

The needles are extremely fine and most people do not feel them when they are inserted or removed. When the needle makes contact with the Qi most people feel a momentary sensation that could be described as a dull ache or a tingle.

The needles are made from stainless steel; they are sterile and disposable so there is no risk of infection or contamination.

If you choose to visit me for acupuncture I will not leave you alone in a room with needles in. I will not be working with another patient while you are with me. I will be present for the duration of your treatment, unless you wish otherwise.