Acupuncture is an ancient, well respected and widely practised natural therapy. It can safely and effectively help with a wide range of acute and chronic health conditions, either on its own or alongside conventional Western medicine.
Pain and illness are signs of imbalance, which happens when the body’s Qi, or vital energy, cannot flow freely. This can happen for many reasons, with emotional and physical stress, poor nutrition, infection or injury amongst the most common causes.
The overall aim of acupuncture treatment is to restore balance. It works through the insertion and stimulation of ultra-fine, sterile needles along the body’s energetic pathways, or channels. These contain and carry Qi to all parts of the body - from the most superficial level (skin, hair, nails) to the deepest (organs, bones, blood).
In a way, acupuncture and channels work similarly to a water irrigation system. Needles inserted in a strategic combination of points release or redirect the flow of Qi into deficient areas, gently rebalancing the disharmony and removing pathogens.
Acupuncture is widely considered to be beneficial for a range of illnesses and injuries - from clearly defined symptoms to more general feelings of ill health and discomfort, reduced energy or low mood.
Acupuncture is widely considered to be beneficial for a range of illnesses and injuries - from clearly defined symptoms to more general feelings of ill health and discomfort, reduced energy and low mood.
According to the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) there are studies which show that acupuncture is considered beneficial for many symptoms including:
- muscular and joint pain,
- poor sleep,
- nausea and vomiting,
- menstrual and menopausal problems.
- depression, and more.
What to expect
At your first appointment you will be assessed regarding your current state of health, medical history and constitution. Symptoms which may seem unrelated can often be inter-related and two separate issues can be part of the same pattern. All information provided by you will be held in strict confidence. Once the medical history has been taken, you will be asked to lie down on a treatment couch and your pulses will be taken. In Chinese Medicine we take many more pulses than in western medicine as these indicate the state of organs and meridians. You will be asked to show the practitioner your tongue which also gives an indication of your state of health. After this, very fine, sterile needles will be inserted into the skin and left in place for 20 minutes. During this time, the practitioner will continue to check the pulses and explain what is happening. You are encouraged to offer feedback about what you are experiencing if you wish but you may just feel like lying back and relaxing, some people even have a snooze during treatment – whatever feels comfortable for you, is right for you.
We advise you to wear loose, comfortable clothing which will allow you to move easily and can be rolled up if needed. In some cases, you may need to remove a particular item of clothing. Towels and blankets will be provided to maintain modesty.
The outcome of each treatment will be individual and will depend on many factors. You may feel a difference in your condition immediately or it may take longer. You may notice a difference in things other than your presenting symptoms, such as sleep, mood, energy or other issues following your treatment. Sometimes after a treatment you may feel tired and need to rest, it may be that you get a burst of energy – it’s individual and can vary from session to session.
How many sessions will be needed?
We generally advise to expect up to five sessions for your body to become rebalanced but this does vary from person to person. Chronic conditions may require more treatments and some, such as the induction of a baby for example, may require fewer or only one. You will be evaluated at the end of your first session and given a treatment plan.
What will you feel during a treatment?
- Acupuncture needles are very different from needles you may have encountered in hospital or at your GP surgery. They are substantially finer.
- In areas of the body where there are more nerve endings you may experience a slight sting or aching sensation when the needles are inserted. This generally passes quite quickly.
- Most people find acupuncture a deeply relaxing experience.
- It is perfectly natural to feel a little apprehensive the first time you have a treatment, your acupuncturist will explain everything carefully and stay with you throughout the treatment - by all means let her know if you are feeling anxious or ask any questions you need to.
Do you need any further advice?
If you have any questions about acupuncture or would like to speak to Selena about your particular condition, please call the clinic and we will ask her to contact you.
Medical Acupuncture / Dry Needling
At Bridgeham, osteopaths may use a type of acupuncture approved by the British Medical Acupuncture Society called dry needling. Some dry needling techniques help super tight muscles to relax. It works in a similar way that if you get a splinter, the surrounding muscle relaxes to help the body release it. It is a spinal reflex pattern that works neurologically and in most cases without any discomfort whatsoever. It has been clinically proven to be effective in treatment. (At no stage were voodoo dolls harmed in the research behind these techniques!)