What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body. Traditional acupuncture differs from ‘dry needling’ by working on traditional Chinese medicine principles, which have been researched and refined for over 2000 years. The acupuncture points allow the practitioner to access qi. The aim of acupuncture is to maintain and restore balance to your body by regulating the flow of qi, your body’s vital energy. Pain and illness may occur due to depleted, blocked or disturbed qi, owing to lifestyle and environmental factors.
Who can have acupuncture?
Acupuncture is considered suitable for all ages including babies and children. It can be used effectively alongside conventional medicine. Acupuncture can be used for specific complaints, general ill health and throughout pregnancy.
How many sessions will I need?
Treatment plans are individualised, however as a rough guide a course of 6 weekly treatments is recommended, reducing in frequency as your condition improves.
What is it good for?
Traditional Chinese acupuncture can be effective in helping to restore balance and promote physical and emotional harmony.
Acupuncture has been shown to provide short-term relief from migraine headache, tension headaches, low back pain, neck pain, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and osteoarthritis of the knee. In 2009 the National Institute for Health and 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.
Whilst a majority of the current evidence is focused on pain, research into acupuncture’s effectiveness is continually growing. For more on the latest research visit BAcC.
Your treatment aims to target the root of your condition as well as the main symptoms, which means you may notice other niggling problems resolve as your main reason for seeking treatment improves. Your wellbeing may also be enhanced.
You can choose to have acupuncture when you have a specific complaint or if you feel generally unwell but have no obvious diagnosis. You might also choose to have acupuncture as a preventative measure to maintain good health or to improve your general sense of wellbeing. Because traditional acupuncture aims to treat the whole person rather than specific symptoms in isolation, it can be effective for a range of conditions. Each symptoms that you bring to your acupuncturist, such as nausea or bloating, or for women specific details of their menstruation, are part of a complex of syndromes and patterns within which it is understood.
Appointments take place at the Shala in West Norwood, London and in Letchworth, Hertfordshire. New appointments and follow-ups are 1 hour in length. Please ensure you do not come to your treatment with either an empty stomach or a full stomach as this could make you feel unwell.
What does it feel like?
Because the needles are so fine most people do not notice them being inserted. You may notice a mild tingle or a dull ache. Many people find treatments to be deeply relaxing.
Is it safe?
Research has shown acupuncture to be safe when practiced by properly trained and qualified traditional practitioners, such as members of BAcC. Occasionally side effects may be present such as a small bruise at the needle site, or dizziness or tiredness which passes quickly. Single-use sterile needles come in sealed packs and are opened in front of you and disposed of safety, in compliance with BAcC codes.
What happens during a treatment?
Please note that your initial appointment includes a thorough consultation, including a complete medical history and diagnostic methods such as pulse taking and observation of the tongue. This helps the practitioner in putting together an individualised treatment plan. Therefore your first session may only involve a short session of acupuncture. Follow up sessions include a short consultation and a longer treatment.
Your practitioner will explain the treatment plan fully before proceeding to check you are happy with the treatment outlined. You are usually treated lying down on your front or your back, depending upon which points need to be assessed. You may also be treated sitting. It is useful to wear loose clothes which can be rolled up for easier access of acupuncture points. If there are any points which you feel uncomfortable about being treated, your acupuncturist will find an alternative. The needles are left in for a short time before being removed. Structured aftercare includes stretching and dietary advice to help you to maintain the results of your treatments.