Acupuncture Awareness Week March 3-10 2014
This week is Acupuncture Awareness Week, supported by the British Acupuncture Council, which aims to help better inform people about the ancient practice of acupuncture.
Qualified acupuncturist Angela Wallis from Woodside Acupuncture Clinic gives an overview of what you can expect from the treatment.
Acupuncture is one of the safest and oldest forms of complementary treatment available today. It has been used in the Far East to restore, promote and maintain good health for over 2,500 years and aims to balance the body so it can heal itself. Today 2.3 million acupuncture treatments are carried out each year by British Acupuncture Council registered acupuncturists and the therapy is widely accepted as an effective solution for a huge array of illnesses and symptoms.
I have too many stories to mention of patients who have tried acupuncture and literally had life changing experiences. For example conceiving that longed-for child after a history of miscarriage, eradicating back pain following weeks in bed and lifting the fog of depression after years of suffering.
In the first acupuncture treatment, I take a very detailed health case history which covers past medical background and the current condition. Once ‘translated’ from the Western perspective to Chinese, this provides a good understanding of what might be the cause of the health problem. After which patients are settled onto the treatment couch, where I will then check the pulses on each wrist and look at the tongue. These also give another diagnostic picture of where imbalances might be occurring.
Then very tiny needles – as fine as human hair – are inserted into specific acupuncture points around the body and they are retained for 20 minutes. Very often patients fall asleep on the couch or go into a deep state of relaxation. Whilst the needles are not painful some patients feel a mild sensation from particular points and this is a good response. As part of the treatment I will offer patient lifestyle and dietary advice so they can continue with their healing away from the acupuncture couch. For musculoskeletal problems, acupuncture is followed by Swedish body massage to boost the healing process.
What is acupuncture all about?
The simplified Chinese medicine concept of acupuncture is that there are meridians – like rivers – traversing the body and these contain Qi or vital energy. If there is a blockage, deficiency or excess of Qi within these meridians, then ill health results. From a Western medicine perspective many studies have been conducted showing that when acupuncture needles are inserted, the body releases endorphins the natural pain relieving hormone.
Acupuncture has become particularly well known for pain relief and in the field of fertility. There are several studies showing an increase in the regularity of ovulation in anovulatory women and improvements in IVF outcome in women who use acupuncture to support assisted conception methods. It can also be a very helpful adjunct treatment in combination with talking therapies for treating stress and anxiety. Currently NICE (National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence) recommends acupuncture for non-specific lower back pain, nausea and tension-type headaches.
You can find all the research into acupuncture at www.acupuncture.org.uk
My path to acupuncture. After leaving a very stressful public relations job in London I woke up one morning with terrible neck pain, which left me unable to get out of bed. It was so bad I couldn’t even drive to the doctors for help because my head would not turn. I tried chiropractic treatment and was offered pain killers, neither of which improved the problem. A friend suggested I try acupuncture which to be honest, I poo poohed. Eventually I did and since that day – 8 years ago – I have never looked back and regularly have acupuncture treatment to keep me on an even keel.
I am a member of the British Acupuncture Council which is the leading body for degree level trained acupuncturists in the UK. It’s the gold standard in terms of training, experience and health and safety criteria, so always look for an acupuncturist who is a member of this body.
Angela Wallis is a qualified acupuncture and massage therapist treating at Woodside Acupuncture Clinic, 12 College Road, Eastbourne. Angela offers free 15 minute consultations so you can discuss whether acupuncture is the right treatment for you. Call Eastbourne 638606 or visit www.woodsideacupuncture.co.uk