One of the main treatments of TCM. Promotes healing by regulating Qi flow through the use of extremely fine needles inserted at specific points along energy channels in the body.
Conditions: migraines, headaches, arthritis, low back pain, neck pain, pain relief.
So what is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture originated in China more than 2,000 years ago and the earliest reports of its use in Europe date back to the 1500s when French missionaries brought it over. Acupuncture is used to access points along the meridians where energy has stagnated and it also serves to restore good energy balance. So, needles are inserted to stimulate the energy flow from these acupoints and, via the network of meridians, re-balance Qi throughout the body. As mentioned with Acupressure Massage, special acupoints are implicated in different conditions and the type of needles and the duration of treatment vary between conditions and individuals.
Acupuncture overcomes blockages to Qi flow in the meridian system to boost and restore energy flow, and thereby increase vitality and promote good health. It is thought from the Western perspective, that acupuncture stimulates nerves under the skin and in muscle causing the release of specific, natural, pain-relieving substances from the spinal cord and brain. These substances or hormones are called endorphins and serotonin and they are partly responsible for that “feel-good” factor.
Conditions that can be treated include: headache, lower back pain, osteoarthritis, and conditions ranging from infertility to anxiety and asthma. However acupuncture is available on the NHS to treat chronic pain – lower back pain, tension-type headaches and migraines as well as neck pain and post-chemotherapy nausea and vomiting.
Acupuncture – the process
Acupuncture treatment involves the use of extremely fine, sterile, single-use, disposable needles that are not hollow and much, much finer than injection needles. These fine acupuncture needles are inserted through the skin and left in position for a short length of time. Consequently you will be asked to remove some clothing to receive treatment but you will be given a blanket to cover yourself.
- The size of single needle used depends on the energy status of the person undergoing treatment. The more weak and lacking in energy the individual is, the shorter the needle that is used. Others with high energy levels may consider acupuncture using longer needles.
- The numbers of needles used varies depending on you and your condition. Initially, you would be treated with only a few needles but this may subsequently increase depending on your symptoms and how you respond. The Medics-Acu practitioner will assess you and tailor a treatment specifically to meet your needs.
- Inserted needles should not cause you any pain but some people do report a tingling sensation. Sometimes the practitioner may gently flick the needles with their fingers or apply a weak, low electrical pulse to the needle (electro-acupuncture) for greater stimulation.
- Treatment typically lasts between 20 and 40 minutes during which time you will be left alone to relax; you may even fall asleep. At the end of the treatment period, the needles are removed so that you can get dressed.
- Treatments are likely to be weekly, in the first instance, and as your condition improves, treatments may become fortnightly or monthly. Usually a course of treatment lasts five to eight sessions but for very chronic conditions, having 12 sessions is not unusual.
- Acupuncture is seen as being generally a very safe form of treatment with few side effects and complications. While some individuals may experience feelings of drowsiness or dizziness, they are usually mild, temporary and not long-lasting.
- Even if you are pregnant, It is safe for you to have acupuncture but you must let your Medics-Acu practitioner know before you begin your treatment. This is because some acupuncture points cannot be used during pregnancy.
Some interesting facts
There are over 500 acupuncture points on the body.
Did you know that nearly 3 million people in the UK have had acupuncture?!
Well-known individuals who use Acupuncture: Robert Downey Junior, Oprah Winfrey and her dog, Matt Damon, Helena Bonham-Carter, Iman Abdulmahjid, Marilyn Munroe, Sheryl Crow, former President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Sandra Bullock, and Jennifer Lopez.