What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient form of treatment that has been used in the East to promote good health for thousands of years. Acupuncture can be used as a standalone method or in combination with conventional western medicine. More and more people in the UK are discovering how acupuncture can benefit them. It is safe for treating people of all ages, including babies and children.

Acupuncture helps to restore and maintain balance within the body based on the Daoist principles of harmonising with the energetic patterns of the natural world in which we exist. Energy, ‘life-force’ or Qi flows through the body in channels called meridians. When Qi and Blood do not flow freely through the body or become depleted, this can cause physical illness or emotional imbalance. In Chinese Medicine, the body and mind are considered inextricably linked and are treated as one. Acupuncture can restore the free flow of Qi and Blood, and thus restore health holistically.

Extremely fine, sterile needles are inserted into points along the meridians to help guide the body towards a balanced state. Needles may be shallowly or deeply inserted or non-insertion techniques may be used. Sometimes burning a herb (moxibustion) over points will assist the process or cupping or massage may be employed. The specific combination of techniques depends upon the patient’s distinct needs.

Subtle adjustments to position, depth and duration of needling ensure that each treatment is tailored entirely individually for each patient so their body/mind is supported to repair and to protect itself. Treatments are designed to improve immediate symptoms but also to benefit the patient on a deeper level from where imbalances may have their root. The aim of the traditionally trained acupuncturist is to produce relief from symptoms, rebalance the body/mind and to promote a sense of well-being for each patient. You may notice that other symptoms in addition to those you primarily want treated, improve after acupuncture.

Acupuncture is often used to treat painful conditions such as migraine, lower back pain and osteoarthritis. It is also used to help people with a range of conditions from anxiety to infertility. Whilst acupuncture is now available on the NHS, access is still limited.

If you wish to find out more about acupuncture, try the British Acupuncture Council’s website www.acupuncture.org.uk where you can also find their list of registered practitioners.