What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is part of a system of healing that originated in China and other Eastern countries over 2000 years ago. It is based on the principle that good health comes from a smooth and balanced flow of energy, or Qi (pronounced chee) in the body. Lifestyle and environmental factors for example, can disturb this flow of energy resulting in both physical and emotional symptoms, as well as ill health. Acupuncturists use needles to regulate this flow of energy, by stimulating specific points on the body to help maintain the body’s own healing response and equilibrium.
Benefits of Acupuncture
Acupuncture is a safe form of treatment which can be used effectively alongside conventional medicine. There is a growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating a whole range of health problems. The British Acupuncture Council provides accurate and unbiased fact sheets which summarise this research and these can be found here: http://www.acupuncture.org.uk/category/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions.html
Please note: Under the new Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) guidelines, acupuncturists are not allowed to list the wide range of conditions that we believe can be helped by acupuncture. Therefore if you have a specific issue and want to discuss your situation, Anu can discuss these with; you can contact her by phone or email. Additionally you can consult the British Acupuncture Council website for information as mentioned above.
Who has Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is considered suitable for all ages from babies to older adults. Many people come to acupuncture with specific issues like back pain, headaches, osteoarthritis of the knee or fertility issues. Some use acupuncture because they feel generally unwell but have no obvious diagnosis. Others choose acupuncture as a preventative measure or simply to enhance their feeling of well-being.
What are the needles like? And how does acupuncture feel?
Acupuncture needles are about the thickness of a hair strand and are not like the needles doctors use. All needles used are sterile and are for single use only. Most acupuncturists use acupuncture needles with a guide tube to assist the painless entry of the needle through the skin. Once the needles are inserted, sensations of tingling, dull ache, heaviness, pressure, warmth or coolness may be felt, which gives the acupuncturist an indication that the body’s qi is being stimulated. The needles are usually left in place for about 20 minutes. People often report that they find acupuncture very calming and relaxing; some even fall asleep.
What does an acupuncture session involve?
The first session can last up to 90 minutes and includes an assessment and consultation where a thorough history will be taken and you will be asked about aspects of your health and lifestyle. Your tongue and pulse will also be examined and you will be given a treatment. You may also be given self-care advice such as dietary or lifestyle changes that may help you. During subsequent appointments which are usually an hour, we will begin by catching up with how you are feeling and talking about any changes you’ve noticed before we begin the treatment.
You do not usually need to remove any clothes for an acupuncture treatment. But if you do (e.g. to access points on your back), it is ensured that you are covered with a towel and not cold.
How many acupuncture sessions will I need?
The number of treatments required varies according to each individual and the condition being treated. Usually more simple or recent problems can be helped more quickly than more complicated or chronic ones. As a general rule, we hope to see improvement within 4 – 6 sessions.