Originating in China, traditional acupuncture has been considered by many to be an effective form of treatment for more than 2000 years. There is now an ever-growing body of research in the Western World also testifying to the benefits of acupuncture.
Traditional acupuncture is based on the theory that our life force or ‘Qi’ moves around our bodies via pathways or meridians. Our Qi consists of two opposing forces: Yin and Yang. If these are not in balance, or Qi is blocked or depleted, we can experience mental and physical imbalance. Illness can be a symptom of this. Acupuncture works to restore equilibrium throughout the body by inserting hair-thin needles into various points on the body. It is highly individualized; people with the same symptoms may experience relief via different acupoints.
What conditions can acupuncture help?
Based on research, the World Health Organisation has compiled a list of conditions where acupuncture has been proven as an effective treatment. A further list of conditions has been published where acupuncture is proven to be therapeutically effective but where further research is required. Due to the authority of these lists, many people are now able to receive assistance for acupuncture from their medical insurance company. Others are recommended acupuncture by their general practitioner or via the pain relief clinic.
Acupuncture is considered an effective treatment for:
- many types of pain (including post-operative, back and dental pain)
- rheumatoid arthritis
It is also evidenced to treat morning sickness, a breached baby and to induce labour. It is considered therapeutically effective for abdominal pain, addictions (including to opiates and alcohol), cancer pain, bronchial asthma, fibromyalgia, insomnia, male sexual dysfunction, obesity, cancer pain and acne. It has a demonstrated therapeutic effect on female infertility and male infertility.
The conditions mentioned above are only some of those that have been considered effective by WHO. For a full list please see here: World Health Organisation.
What can I expect from my first session?
Your acupuncturist will ask you about your current condition, its related symptoms and your past medical history. You will also be asked about any other treatment you are receiving, your diet, digestion, sleep and current life situation. Acupuncturists look at your tongue, as this can vary in colour and is helpful for diagnosing necessary acupuncture points. Your pulse will be taken, as pulses also vary depending on an individual’s energy system and are essential to diagnosis.
You will receive treatment on your first session. Acupuncturists sometimes use a process called Moxibustion as well as acupuncture. This involves burning a herb to balance and nourish Qi.
How do I know I'm receiving the best standard of care?
Will it hurt?
How much does it cost?
British Acupuncture Council