What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of medicine in the world. It originated from Chinese Medicine thousands of years ago and some experts even believe that its history goes as far back as the Stone Age.
An Acupuncturists role in healing is based upon the Chinese theory that the body relies on the flow of Qi (pronounced Chi), which is translated as energy. In Acupuncture, it is believed that imbalances, blockages and stagnation of Qi around the body give rise to certain conditions and afflictions that we wouldn’t normally experience. The practice focuses on specific points in our body, stimulating them individually with the use of very fine needles and, in some cases, traditional herbal remedies, to treat a wide variety of illnesses.
What can Acupuncture treat and how does it work?
Acupuncture is now recognised in Western Medicine thanks to positive evidence and clinical trials in the treatment of several conditions, such as back pain, dental pain, headaches, nausea and vomiting. And, although there is currently little scientific evidence to support the claims, anecdotal evidence also suggests that Acupuncture can be a used to treat asthma, addiction, mental health conditions (anxiety and depression), insomnia, tinnitus, sciatica, arthritis, chronic fatigue, gout and any pain associated with injury.
While more research needs to be carried out into the way in which Acupuncture may treat these ailments, some experts suspect that the stimulation of the soft tissues within the body helps to improve blood flow to the area and create chemical reactions that in turn instigate the healing process. Referral for Acupuncture on the NHS is very limited at present; much of the treatment is carried out privately, and a single session of Acupuncture with a certified practitioner can cost anywhere between £35 and £60.
What can I expect when I visit my Acupuncturist?
On visiting an Acupuncturist, you will be asked about your medical history, as well as the specifics of your condition. You will be given a physical examination and asked to sit, or lie, down before the insertion of the needles begins at specific points (Acupuncture Points). The needles used are very fine, but you may feel some very mild discomfort as it is inserted; this should pass once it is in place. There is considered to be over 500 Acupuncture Points on the body, your Acupuncturist may use between 1 and 12 of these in a single session, and multiple sessions are typically required for significant or long term improvement; however, in most cases you will experience an immediate effect soon after the first treatment.
There is currently no governing body or statutory authority in the field of Acupuncture, however, the law requires practitioners to register with their local authority. There are several voluntary authorities that Acupuncturists can join when they are qualified; The British Acupuncture Council (BacC), The British Register of Complimentary Practitioners (BRCP), The British Medical Acupuncture Society (BMAS), The British Academy of Western Medical Acupuncture (BAWMA) and The Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP).
When performed by a qualified Acupuncturist, the procedure is completely safe, and the risk of side effects is especially rare. It is always recommended that you speak with your GP or Health Care Professional about any Complimentary or Alternative Therapy that you are seeking.