What is Acupuncture? How can it help?
Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles at points on the body to stimulate a response.
It works in more than one way:
By balancing circulation in the area: needling a weak or underused area to increase circulation or needling to pull circulation away from an area that's become stagnant or stuck.
Acupuncture stimulates the body to produce pain-killing chemicals, some of which are also related to sleep. The needles themselves do not cause long-term damage, but when removed the area needled is suffused with these natural pain-killing chemicals.
Chinese medicine is thousands of years old and has a simple and direct view of how the body works, linking the internal organs to the external body via channels and points that have specific affects when massaged or needled. We can balance both internal and external via these points.
This is an interesting video of a Western explanation of how acupuncture works with pain conditions:
An understanding of the traditional system is in my view necessary to make full use of acupuncture's potential. As a traditional practitioner, I am able to give a traditional diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Needles will be placed either at the site of pain, along the affected channel, or on the channel causing the pain.
The channels describe where and how you might externally experience referred pain from the organs of the body, or the most likely areas to be affected by injuries, in the same way that if you hurt your shoulder you may have referred pain in your elbow. Depending on whether you want to bring focus to an area (for example if an area has become weak) or encourage it away (if an area is blocked up), needles may be placed close to or at the site of the problem, or further away.
The World Health Organisation has published a review of research which shows the effectiveness of acupuncture for over 60 conditions. More recently, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence recommended acupuncture for lower back pain.
The Western research supporting the use of acupuncture is building. In China, it is accepted that acupuncture is a powerful therapy, and hospitals commonly have acupuncture, tui na and herbal medicine departments as well as the full range of Western treatments. All of these forms of Chinese medicine have documented histories going back over two thousand years.
Pain and discomfort are evidence of a change in your body tissues. It is this change that we are looking to find and work with in acupuncture and tui na massage or bodywork, by affecting the circulation and movement of qi.
Traditional acupuncture has a much wider scope of application for the insertion of needles than modern medicalised acupuncture, which often uses aspects of traditional acupuncture without understanding the system as a whole. As a whole, the system is powerful and limited primarily by its tendency to being used as a last resort. My recommendation is to come and have some regular massage and/or acupuncture to maintain good health and wellbeing.
Chinese medicine has a number of different means of relieving tension. I practise dry cupping (not bleeding cupping) as one of the methods of opening up muscles that become constricted.
What happens in a treatment?
In your first treatment I will take a medical history, including asking about current symptoms and lifestyle, how you are sleeping, eating and how you feel. I will check your pulse and tongue and I may also feel the channels below the elbows and knees.
Once I have carried out my diagnosis, I use fine needles at specific points in the body to stimulate pain-relief and promote healing.
First treatments are up to an hour and a half, and subsequent treatments one hour.
Acupuncture has a very safe track record; needles used are single-use, disposable and sterile. The sensation experienced is often described as a dull ache or tingling.
Send me an email or call me on 07538 065665 if you want to know how acupuncture can help you. Chinese Medicine describes all of the body’s processes, and I will always do my best to give appropriate advice, even if it is to direct you to your GP or to any other health professional.
Should I tell my doctor?
If you are taking medication it makes sense to tell your doctor you plan to have acupuncture. You should also tell me when you come as it may feed into my treatment, particularly if you are taking blood thinning medication.
As a member of the British Acupuncture Council many health insurance schemes will pay for my acupuncture treatments. I always recommend however that you get a letter from your doctor to say that acupuncture will be helpful to your condition in order to be able to make your claim.