The traditional medicine of China has developed over the last three thousand years into a unique and highly sophisticated system for understanding health and disease. It includes acupuncture, herbs, exercise, massage and diet. A system of diagnosis has been developed which is based on detailed observation of the human body. The focus is on the individual as a whole, and not just on an illness.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is based on the theory that we all have qi – an energy/life force – flowing throughout our bodies. Acupuncturists believe that a harmonious flow of qi is essential to physical, mental and emotional health. Qi is thought to be concentrated in channels or meridians, along which lie acupuncture points. In recent years, it has been discovered by medical scientists that myofascial pathways follow those taken by meridians, and the developing knowledge of cell communication within the body may have parallels with the concept of qi. To regulate the flow of qi, an acupuncturist inserts fine, sterile, single use needles into specific points.
Trigger points may also be used, hypersensitive points developed by muscles which can become quite uncomfortable. These points may or may not be on a meridian, and can often affect the whole muscle, with pain sometimes being referred to what seems to be an unrelated area. Acupuncture can specifically target these points and release them.
The focus of traditional acupuncture is on stimulating the body's own healing responses, thereby improving the overall well-being of the patient, and tackling the root cause of problems.
What is the evidence for acupuncture?
Clinical studies are constantly being conducted around the world to expand our knowledge about the use and effectiveness of acupuncture. Fact sheets concerning the latest acupuncture research can be found on the British Acupuncture Council’s (BAcC’s) website: http://www.acupuncture.org.uk/category/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions.html.
Who has acupuncture?
People of all ages come for treatment, from babies to the very elderly. People have come for acupuncture to relieve muscular aches and pains, sciatica, low back pain, arthritis, painful periods, stress and related conditions, insomnia, depression, migraines and headaches, menopausal symptoms, IBS, constipation, urinary disorders, skin disorders, general pain relief and TMJ, or to receive support while undergoing IVF. Others choose acupuncture when their bodily functions are out of balance, and they have no obvious Western Medical diagnosis. Some pregnant women have acupuncture throughout pregnancy. Treatment is designed to help a patient’s whole being as well as the symptoms, so a number of issues may resolve through treatment, and there may be an increased feeling of well being. Some people come for acupuncture just to enhance well being.
What does it feel like?
As the needles used are very fine, many people hardly notice the insertion of the needles. It is normal to feel a momentary sensation following needling, sometimes a mild tingle, numbness or a dull ache. The needles can be inserted and removed immediately, or they can be left in place for up to 30 minutes. Many patients report they feel pleasantly relaxed during treatment. Even those who are scared of needles can have acupuncture, and should discuss their concerns with an acupuncturist.
Is it safe?
Research studies conducted in 2011 and 2012 concluded that when acupuncture is practised by properly trained and qualified acupuncturists (such as members of the BAcC), the risk of adverse events from acupuncture's extremely low. For more information, visit the BAcC website: http://www.acupuncture.org.uk/public-content/public-safety-of-acupuncture/is-acupuncture-safe.html .
Are there any side effects?
Sometimes a small bruise may appear at the site of the needling. On occasion, people may feel dizzy or tired after a treatment, but this passes quickly.
Should my doctor know I’m having treatment?
If you are taking prescribed medication, it is recommended that you let your doctor know that you are going to have acupuncture. Do not stop taking medication without professional guidance. People coming for treatment should tell their acupuncturist about any medication or supplements they are taking. Members of the BAcC are trained to recognise potentially serious underlying health conditions and will refer a patient to their GP if they think it appropriate. Acupuncture is complementary to Western medicine.
As part of a personalised plan of care, an acupuncturist may choose to use additional techniques in addition to needing, such as moxibustion, gua sha, cupping, tui na or electro acupuncture. More information on these techniques can be found on the BAcC website: http://www.acupuncture.org.uk/public-content/public-styles/styles-of-acupuncture.html .
How many appointments will be needed?
The practitioner will discuss this with each patient. A typical course of acupuncture consists of between 5 and 10 sessions. However, as each course of treatment is tailored to the individual, fewer sessions may be appropriate, or for more deep rooted problems, treatment might take considerably longer.
Is acupuncture available on the NHS?
Some GP practices offer integrated healthcare with complementary therapies, including acupuncture, and many BAcC members work within GP practices and primary care trusts (PCTs). However this is not yet commonplace.
Will private health insurance pay for acupuncture?
Many policies cover the cost of treatment given by registered BAcC members. The insurer can provide further information.
Who are the practitioners at The Well?
All the practitioners working at The Well are members of the BAcC. They are always happy to discuss acupuncture and potential treatment.
Please click on the pictures below for a brief biography of each acupuncturist
The Well Natural Health Centre
89 Institute Rd
If you have any queries or wish to make an appointment, please contact us:
0121 443 1580
Or use our contact form.