"Acupuncture is one of the longest established forms of healthcare in the world. It originated in China approximately 2,500 years ago and is now practised across the globe. For acupuncturists who use a traditional theory, the focus is on the individual, rather than an isolated complaint. The physical, emotional, and mental aspects of life are seen as interdependent. Acupuncturists use subtle diagnostic techniques, such taking the pulse and observing the tongue, that have been developed and refined for thousands of years. Treatment involves the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body to regulate the flow of ‘qi’ along pathways in the body known as ‘meridians’. Acupuncturists may also use other techniques such as moxibustion, cupping, tuina/massage, and guasha."
(British Acupuncture Council website 2021)
Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and more recently the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have endorsed the use of acupuncture for particular clinical interventions. Acupuncture has been practised in China for over 2,000 years. Very fine needles are inserted in specific points around the body to elicit the body's own healing responses. A usual treatment may involve the insertion of up to 10 needles for up to 45 minutes.
The World Health Organization endorses the use of acupuncture for the following conditions: anxiety, depression, stress, arthritis, asthma, back pain, aches, pains, circulatory conditions, facial paralysis, infertility, menstrual problems, migraines, sciatica, many skin conditions and ulcers.
Other people use acupuncture to help deal with pain, and even addictions such as smoking and alcohol.
An acupuncture treatment can also help with feeling better when dealing with serious illnesses and the undesirable effects of medications. It is also good to receive as a preventative treatment so as to maintain a sense of 'feel good'.
Many patients find a combination of acupuncture and cupping therapy beneficial. Take a look at this video which shows you just how relaxing these procedures can be…
It certainly isn’t necessary to have a specific illness in order to benefit from acupuncture. A number of wellbeing improvements can be achieved such as better sleep, digestion, energy and vitality, emotional and mental functioning. Acupuncture can also be very useful for cosmetic treatments such as facial rejuvenation.
As part of my practice I run a quit smoking service which involves doing a number of sessions over a short period of time. You might also find it helpful to access the support of a self-help organization called Quitza.
What does a session involve?
The initial consultation is about discussing your lifestyle, your medical history and any symptoms that you may have.
It also includes a physical check-up involving pulse and tongue diagnosis. This is then followed by a personalized 15-20 minute treatment to give you an idea of how acupuncture can help you. This means placing and moving very fine needles in the relevant part of your body. This enhances and balances the flow of energy around the body.
The follow up sessions would focus on feeding back on any effects from the previous treatment and updating on any relevant signs and symptoms ahead of receiving a treatment.
How many sessions will I need?
To begin with it is good to space your sessions at weekly intervals. Once an improvement sets in, the treatments will be spaced further apart.
Some people only need a short course of treatments such as six weeks before seeing an improvement, whereas others may need a longer period of treatment.
Ultimately the course of treatments will depend on the nature and duration of presenting symptoms.