Acupuncture is an ancient healing art that has been practised in China and other Eastern countries for thousands of years. It aims to treat the whole person and restore the balance between the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of the individual. Whilst being well known for its ability to relive pain, acupuncture is in fact used to treat a wide range of conditions through its power to stimulate the body's natural healing energy, known as Qi.
The aim is to treat the person and their constitution as well as their condition. This is achieved by restoring balance in their vital energy or Qi, thereby allowing their body, mind and spirit to function as well as nature will allow. Strengthened from the inside, the person will often report feeling better generally, referring to such things as increased energy and vitality, greater enjoyment of life, greater confidence, better sleep and a more normal appetite.
Modern studies have revealed that acupuncture can raise the level of specific hormones, prostaglandin, T-cell counts, gamma globulin, opsonins and overall anti-body levels. In other words, the insertion of fine needles into specific points along the body's energy pathways can stimulate the human body's natural healing response, release pain-killing endorphins and improve functioning of the hormonal system.
Practice and research over many years has shown acupuncture's effectiveness in helping a wide range of symptoms and conditions. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has endorsed it for treatment of over 60 conditions. These include:
During the first consultation a detailed history will be taken to determine the nature of disharmony. This will include questions about your current symptoms, past medical and family history, diet, lifestyle, and all the functions of all the systems in the body such as digestion, circulation, sleep patterns and your emotional state.
Following further examination - inspection of the tongue and pulse taking - needles are inserted at specific acupoints to correct and regulate the energy (Qi) circulation. The needles are inserted and left in place for between 20 -30 minutes. During this time their may be a heavy sensation in the limbs and a pleasant feeling of relaxation. Only sterile, disposable needles are used.
Sometimes, Moxabustion is used to warm and stimulate the acupuncture points. Moxabustion is a process using smoldering herbal preparation and cupping which is the placing of partially evacuated glass cups over the acupuncture points.
Gentle electric stimuli may also be applied through the needles, giving a sensation of tingling and buzzing.
Advice on dietary and lifestyle adjustments may also be given to enhance the effectiveness of the treatment.
Treatments last approximately one hour and the number of sessions required will depend on the duration and severity of the condition. This will be discussed at the first consultation.
Acupuncture is one of the oldest recorded forms of medicine having been used for over 2500 years in China. Modern science has shown that acupuncture stimulates the brain to produce natural pain relieving chemicals, endorphins. These assist the body to heal itself and give pain relief.
Research has shown that most people gain relief from pain with acupuncture. It does not work for everybody and every condition but, frequently, good results are achieved when more conventional medicine has failed.
Chartered physiotherapists have undergone a 3 year degree on western medicine, before training for acupuncture at a post-graduate level.
They are in a unique position of being able to combine acupuncture with other natural treatment methods, such as exercise, manipulation and relaxation techniques.
It is often worth trying acupuncture for conditions which have not responded well to orthodox medicine.
The National Blood Transfusion centre approve acupuncture treatment provided by all physiotherapists at our clinics. All of our physiotherapists and acupuncturists are registered with Heath and Care Professional Registered Clinician, which means that you are allowed to give blood following a treatment. Please let our team know and we can provide you with the relevant information to provide to the blood donation service.
Acupuncture is not painless but neither can it be described as painful. Acupuncture needles are fine and solid as opposed to injection needles which are thick and hollow. When the needle is inserted, the sensation is often described as tingling.
Try not to have a big meal within an hour of your appointment as the process of digestion will alter the pattern of your pulse. Also avoid alcohol and food/drinks which colour your tongue (such as coffee) immediately prior to treatment.
Usually you will feel relaxed and calm after treatment. Occasionally you may feel tired or drowsy for a few hours after treatment, in which case you are advised not to drive or do anything that may put you at risk. There may also be short-term flare up of your symptoms as your Qi clears and restores itself.
Acupuncture is safe when practiced by a fully trained therapist. They will use the strictest hygiene and the needles used are disposable and pre-sterilised.