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. Like valves, needles inserted in a strategic selection of points open up and release 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 and low mood.
It can make a significant difference to specific symptoms like:
- muscular and joint pain,
- poor sleep,
- nausea and vomiting,
- menstrual and menopausal problems.
It can also help you to manage long-term health conditions such as:
- depression, and more.
What to expect
At your first appointment you will be assessed regarding your current state of health and general medical condition. Acupuncture is a holistic system of medicine and some of the questions may appear irrelevant for what you have come about. However, symptoms are interrelated and two separate issues can be part of the same pattern. All information provided by you will be held in strict confidence.
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 a few days. You may notice a difference in your symptoms too, such as sleep, mood, energy and more, following your treatment.
How many sessions will be needed?
We generally advise to expect up to five sessions for your body to become accustomed to acupuncture. Chronic conditions may require more treatments. 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.
- The insertion of acupuncture needles is mainly pain-free.
- 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.
- Most people find acupuncture a deeply relaxing experience.
Moxibustion often accompanies acupuncture, but can also be used on its own for its tonifying, warming effects. The term covers various ways of burning Moxa (processed mugwort) to create and transport heat inside the body. Most patients find the smell of moxa smoke pleasant, and all patients enjoy its relaxing, warming effect. Moxibustion can be done directly (leaving small marks where the heat was transferred) or indirectly (placed on the needle or a slice of ginger, pile of salt or in a moxa box).
Do you need any further advice?
If you have any questions about acupuncture or would like to speak to Christine 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!)