Acupuncture is a very ancient system of healing, which is increasingly being recognised in the western world as having the potential to help many people. Over 2 million acupuncture treatments are given each year in the UK. It is a very versatile therapy, which can be used as a stand-alone treatment, or alongside western medicine, to manage a variety of acute or chronic health problems. Many of my patients have come on the suggestion of their GP that they try acupuncture, and indeed an increasing number of GP’s are using a westernised version of acupuncture (often referred to as medical acupuncture), in their own surgeries.
Acupuncture uses extremely fine, small sterile needles, which bear very little resemblance to the needles used to give vaccinations or take blood samples. These are inserted into the skin at specific points on the body, to influence the movement of energy (qi). Although acupuncture is perhaps best known in the west as a method of pain-relief, it can be used very effectively to help with more emotionally based issues too. There are restrictions placed on acupuncturists by the Advertising Standards Authority around the claims that are allowed to be made about what they can treat. This is because there have not always been controlled trials performed for particular health conditions, and anecdotal evidence from people who have found acupuncture helpful is sadly not considered to carry sufficient weight.
However, I have patients who will attest to acupuncture having helped them with a very wide range of conditions, including anxiety, stress, menstrual problems, giving up smoking, low energy due to chronic fatigue or ME, nausea, migraines and headaches, coping with bereavement and other life-changing occurences, osteoarthritic knee wrist and hip pain, back pain, bladder problems, pregnancy sickness, sleep difficulties, constipation, and generally just feeling out of sorts .