Acupuncture is a tried and tested, sophisticated system of medicine. The Chinese and other eastern cultures have been using acupuncture to restore, promote and maintain good health for thousands of years. Nowadays more and more people are finding this long-established therapy can offer an effective treatment for a wide range of health conditions.
What can acupuncture do for me?
Acupuncture can be beneficial for a range of illnesses and symptoms, from clearly defined complaints, such as headaches, migraine, back ache, asthma, arthritis, IBS, cystitis, period pain, through to more general feelings off ill health, such as nausea, tiredness, insomnia or low mood.
Conditions commonly treated fall into the following categories of disorder; eye, ear, nose and throat; circulatory; gastrointestinal; gynaecological; genito-urinary; immune; musculo-skeletal; neurological; respiratory; emotional and psychological; addiction.
Acupuncture aims to address the root cause of a condition and not just the symptoms alone. This approach can lead to a more permanent resolution of problems.
Who has acupuncture?
Many people come to acupuncture for help with specific symptoms or conditions. Others choose acupuncture as a preventative measure to strengthen their constitution or because they just feel generally unwell. Acupuncture is considered suitable for all ages, including babies and children. It can also be used alongside conventional medicine.
Many women choose to have acupuncture for support during pregnancy and childbirth. In addition, it is increasingly used by couples dealing with problems of fertility or to support IVF treatment.
What happens when I go for treatment?
You will be asked about your current symptoms, what treatment you have received, you medical history, and aspects of general health such as your diet, digestive system, sleeping patterns, lifestyle and emotional state.
Each treatment is tailored to the patient’s individual needs, identified through a detailed consultation, explored at the first session and from which a thorough diagnosis is made.
Ultra-fine, sterile, single-use needles are carefully inserted into specific points on the body which have the effect of stimulating the body’s natural healing mechanism.
What does it feel like?
Acupuncture needles are much finer than needles used for injections and blood tests. When the needle is inserted, the sensation is often described as a tingling or dull ache, which lasts for only a second or two.
How many sessions will I need?
Frequency and length of treatment depends on your individual condition. Most people start coming for acupuncture weekly and, as treatment progresses, the interval between treatments lengthens to fortnightly and then monthly or less frequent if ongoing treatment is required.
Some patients may only need a few treatments while others need treatment over several months or long term. As a general rule, the longer you have had a complaint, the longer it will take to improve.
Should my doctor know?
If you are currently receiving treatment from your doctor, it is sensible to mention that you plan to have acupuncture. You should always tell your acupuncturist about any medication you are taking as this may affect your response to the acupuncture treatment.
Conversely, acupuncture has no adverse effect on medications and there is no need to stop any prescribed medication. It may be that some medications (eg. sleeping tablets, antidepressants, blood pressure medication) can be reduced or withdrawn as treatment progresses. This will only be done in consultation with you GP, who must agree to the reduction.
Is it safe?
Acupuncture has a very sound track record. The needles used are single-use, sterile and disposable so there is no danger of cross infection.