What is it?
Good health is not just the absence of pain or disease. According to traditional Chinese philosophy, our health is dependent on the body’s motivating energy moving in a smooth and balanced way through channels or meridians beneath the skin. The flow of this energy, or ‘qi’ (pronounced ‘chee’) can be disturbed by a number of factors including emotional states such as anxiety, anger or grief, as well as poor nutrition, hereditary factors, infections and trauma. When the qi is unbalanced, illness may result. Acupuncture aims to restore this balance. Acupuncture aims to stimulate the body’s own healing response and restore its natural balance.
The skill of the practitioner lies in making an individual diagnosis of patterns of disharmony often from a complex set of symptoms and then choosing the appropriate points prescription to treat the patient.
Acupuncture is considered to be beneficial for a range of conditions including: osteo-arthritic pain of the knee (temporary relief), dental pain, nausea, vomiting and tension type headaches (short term relief).
In 2009 the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommended that acupuncture should be made available on the NHS, as a cost-effective short-term treatment for the management of early, persistent, non-specific lower back pain. Acupuncture is often used in conjunction with western medicine and in some countries such as China, is used routinely alongside conventional treatment in many scenarios.
Some people turn to acupuncture for help with a specific problem or condition. Others choose to have treatment to help maintain good health, as a preventative measure or to improve their general sense of well-being . Many women choose to have acupuncture to support them throughout pregnancy, after giving birth and later during life changes. Acupuncture is considered suitable for all ages, including babies and children.
Because acupuncture aims to treat the whole person, rather than specific symptoms in isolation, it can be effective for a range of conditions.
You can get more information about which conditions acupuncture has been used for from the British Acupuncture council, www.acupuncture.org.uk. The World Health Organisation has created a list categorising conditions they feel acupuncture may benefit: Diseases and disorders that can be treated with acupuncture
To discuss your condition please feel free to contact Marianne or book a free 15 minute consultation.
What to expect
At your first appointment a detailed medical history will be taken. Your pulse will be taken and assessed from a traditional Chinese medicine view point, and your tongue will be examined. The treatment will involve the insertion of very fine needles into acupuncture points on your body, chosen specifically to treat and disharmonies particular to you as an individual. When the needle is inserted the sensation is often described as a tingling or dull ache. Your acupuncturist will discuss with you the number of treatments needed, as this can range from one or two to long-term. All needles used are sterile, single use and disposable. As well as acupuncture needles, you may be treated using a heat lamp or with “cupping”, where a glass/plastic cup is placed on your skin with a suction created inside the cup.
It is recommended that if you are taking medications that you tell your doctor that you are having acupuncture. You should always tell your acupuncturist if you are taking any medications as this may affect your response to the treatment.
How acupuncture can affect you
For most people, acupuncture is a soothing and relaxing treatment that leaves them feeling soothed and stress free. Sometimes patients find that they feel a little tired after treatment, but that soon passes. On very rare occasions a patient may feel a little faint when the needles are inserted. If this happens, they are removed immediately until the patient feels ready to continue. Rarely some minor bruising may occur, please tell your practitioner if this occurs. If a patient has any concerns between treatments, they are free to call their practitioner.
To prevent feelings of light-headedness it is best to avoid being treated on an empty stomach. Before treatment and after treatment for the rest of the day, alcohol, hot baths, heavy exertion and any recreational drugs should be avoided.