What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the longest established forms of healthcare in the world. Acupuncturists are trained to use subtle diagnostic techniques that have been developed and refined for thousands of years. The focus is on you as an individual, not your illness, and all symptoms are seen in relation to each other. Treatment involves the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body to affect the flow of your body’s qi, or vital energy. 

Acupuncture points are located at precise places along interconnected pathways that map the whole body, including the head, trunk and limbs. The most commonly used acupuncture points are on the lower arms and legs. 

Acupuncturists insert very fine needles at precisely located points to connect with your body’s qi. They will decide which points are right for you after a detailed consultation covering every aspect of your health and lifestyle. The aim is to direct the flow of qi to trigger your body’s healing response and to restore physical, emotional and mental equilibrium. Treatment is designed to affect your whole being as well as your symptoms so, as the condition being treated improves, you may notice other health problems resolve and an increased feeling of wellbeing.

What are the benefits of acupuncture?

A growing body of evidence-based clinical research is discovering how the body responds to acupuncture and its benefits for a wide range of common health conditions. A lot of people have acupuncture to relieve specific aches and pains, such as osteoarthritis of the knee, TMJ, headaches and low back pain, or for common health problems like an overactive bladder. Other people choose acupuncture when they can feel their bodily functions are out of balance, but they have no obvious diagnosis. And many have regular treatments because they find it so beneficial and relaxing. 

What can acupuncture help with?

Acupuncture can help with a vast array of health issues. Here you can find a full list of the conditions which acupuncture can help with. 

I specialise in musculoskeletal issues due to my extended background and experience in the field, however, I am also passionate about balancing out menstruation and menopausal issues, migraines, digestive issues, mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression, breathing issues such as asthma, skin issues such as eczema, insomnia, urinary issues... Basically, it is all of interest to me!

What to expect in a treatment?

A 30-minute detailed consultation, diagnosis and treatment. You may also be given lifestyle advice as well as home exercises/stretches. The follow-up treatments last 30, 45, or 60 minutes. In the initial consultation, we take a full history of your condition and general health which includes dietary habits, sleep pattern, energy levels, lifestyle... This helps us build a tailor-made diagnosis which makes treatments much more effective.

We check the client's pulse at the wrist on both arms and have a look at the tongue which can reveal key information too. 

Treatment involves the insertion of very fine needles into the chosen acupuncture points in order to restore balance by stimulating the body's own abilities of self-healing. These needles are left for 20 minutes and the practitioner may leave the room to allow you to fully relax.

Massage, Electro-Acupuncture, Cupping, Moxa, Gua Sha may be used if relevant.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture needles are so fine that most people don’t feel them being inserted. It is normal to feel a mild tingle or dull ache as the acupuncturist adjusts the needle to direct Qi. While the needles are in place most people feel deeply relaxed which can continue after they are removed. 

How many acupuncture treatments will I need

The British Acupuncture Council and evidence-based research suggest that a minimum of 6 sessions is recommended to get clear results. These are done over a period of 6 weeks, meaning one a week. But ultimately, it depends on each client's individual needs as some conditions may be helped with only 3 sessions. 

Internal issues such as digestive complications, chronic migraines and menopausal symptoms may take longer than an external issue such as musculoskeletal complaint.

Before and after an acupuncture treatment

Before treatment: wear loose clothing, do not eat a heavy meal nor on an empty stomach. Avoid alcoholic drinks and recreational drugs.

After treatment: stay hydrated, avoid alcoholic drinks, recreational drugs, heavy meals, vigorous exercise, managing heavy machinery. Occasionally a small bruise can appear at a needle site. Sometimes people can feel dizzy or tired after a treatment but this passes quickly.  You may find that one of the accidental side effects is a good night sleep and feeling relaxed overall. 

Lifestyle advice may be offered in order to make the effects long-lasting. See, most of the time it is about teamwork between the practitioner and the client.

I hope you found this helpful!

Most of the above information has been sourced from the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) 

For more info, visit https://www.acupuncture.org.uk/