What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Acupuncture is rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) & has a history that dates back thousands of years. It has also been adopted by many other Eastern healthcare systems over the centuries, with evidence to suggest that even vikings may have used acupuncture.
Traditional Acupuncturists train for a minimum of 2-3 years to understand the subtle diagnostic techniques that have been developed and refined for centuries in TCM. They view the body as a whole with mental, emotional and physical symptoms seen as dependant upon each other. TCM excels at explaining how symptoms that may seem completely unrelated in Western Medicine can be interrelated.
TCM is one of the original forms of "Functional Medicine". It aims to not only relieve the symptoms but to also treat the root cause of disease or disharmony within the body. Therefore the fundamental aim of acupuncture is to restore balance to the whole body.
Focus is placed on the individual & not their illness with all the symptoms viewed in relation to each other. Each patient is unique & even two people with the same western diagnosis may well receive different treatments as they are tailored for their specific needs.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
All processes within the body require an energetic input in order for them to happen, whether it be thermal, kinetic, bio-chemical or electrical. Illness & pain occur when this vital energy cannot flow freely within the body, resulting in either too much or too little energy in the wrong place at the wrong time.
There can be many reasons for this with the most common being emotional trauma, stress, poor nutrition, infection, muscle tightness or physical injury.
By inserting ultra-fine sterile needles into specific acupuncture points, a traditional acupuncturist seeks to re-establish the free flow of energy to restore balance & trigger the body's natural healing response. This is done by sensory nerves under the skin and in the muscles. This results in the body producing natural substances, such as pain-relieving endorphins. These naturally released substances are thought to be responsible for the beneficial effects experienced with acupuncture.
How can Acupuncture Help You?
What to Expect
The effects of acupuncture are cumulative and a course of acupuncture usually creates longer lasting pain relief than when a single treatment is used. The frequency of treatments required is dependant on the severity of the symptoms and the condition being treated but patients should expect to need 3-6 treatments weekly or fortnightly. It is recommended that fertility patients will need treatment throughout out 3 cycles to see a change. Contact us to discuss your case in more detail.
In severe cases 1-2 treatments a week may be recommended initially to reduce the pain. Other conditions may only require treatment every few weeks. Acupuncture can be a useful tool in managing the symptoms of many long term chronic illnesses.
An initial acupuncture session usually lasts 90 mins for adults and 1 Hr for children. It involves an assessment of your general health, medical history and a physical examination, followed by insertion of the acupuncture needles.
Very fine, sterile needles are inserted into specific places on the body, called acupuncture points. Location of acupoints may involve palpation of the skin to locate anatomical structures or areas of tenderness. Needles are sterile, single-use, that are disposed of immediately after use.
I am trained in Traditional Chinese Acupuncture, Japanese Acupuncture and Dr Tans Balance Method which gives me a variety of strategies to treat different diseases.
During the session, you'll usually be asked to lie down either face down or on your back. You may also be asked to remove some clothes so the practitioner can access certain parts of your body such as the upper back. It is advisable to wear loose fitting clothes that can be rolled up to the elbow and knees.
Acupuncture practitioners choose specific points to place the needles based on your condition. Several points may be used during a typical session, depending on the number of symptoms you have.
Once the needles are in place, they may be left in position for a length of time lasting from a few minutes up to around 30 minutes. You may feel a tingling or a dull ache when the needles are inserted but you should not experience any significant pain. If you do, let your practitioner know straight away.
ACUPUNCTURE SAFETY & REGULATION
There is no statutory regulation in the UK for acupuncturists so it is important that patients check the qualifications and affiliations of anyone they are seeking treatment from. When done by a qualified practitioner, acupuncture is generally very safe and only very mild side effects are seen in less than 3% of patients such as drowsiness, bruising & occasional faintness.
The largest voluntary regulatory body within the UK is the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) and all its members must have trained to Lic Ac. or Degree level in Traditional Chinese Medicine to become a member. Members will have MBAcC after their name. There are other associations so it is important to check the practitioner.