Traditionally, acupuncture is a holistic approach to the management of disease as well as the maintenance of health. The skill of an acupuncturist lies in their ability to make a traditional diagnosis from what is often a complex pattern of disharmony. The exact pattern and degree of disharmony is unique to each individual and with traditional acupuncture it will be treated as such with a personalised treatment plan.

Acupuncture originated in China and other far eastern cultures where it still features in mainstream healthcare, both as a stand-alone therapy and in combination with conventional western medicine. Acupuncture is now widely used and accepted all over the world. In the UK more and more people are finding out what acupuncture can do for them.

Although often described as a means of pain relief, it is in fact used to treat people with a wide range of illnesses. Its focus is on treating the root of the problem and improving the overall well being of the patient, rather than the isolated treatment of specific symptoms. According to traditional Chinese philosophy, our health is dependent on the body’s motivating energy – known as Qi – moving in a smooth and balanced way through a series of meridians (channels) beneath the skin.

By inserting fine needles into the channels of energy, an acupuncturist can stimulate the body’s own healing response and help restore its natural balance. The flow of Qi can be disturbed by a number of factors. These include emotional states such as anxiety, stress, anger, fear or grief, poor nutrition, weather conditions, hereditary factors, infections, poisons and trauma. The principal aim of acupuncture in treating the whole person is to recover the equilibrium between the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of the individual.

What the client can expect at the appointment

The first appointment will be double length and involves the taking of an in-depth case history, followed by a treatment.

What happens in a session

At the start of the session you will be asked how you have been since you were last seen and the practitioner will find out in detail what changes have taken place since then. Your pulse will be taken and your tongue examined – as this is an important diagnostic tool. You will lie down or sit up while needles are put in place for about 20 minutes. Practitioners may also use moxa (a heating herb) or cupping (the placing of cups over certain points, creating a suction).

How many sessions should the client need before they see a result

The number of sessions required largely depends on the severity of the problem, but a practitioner usually starts by seeing you for 6 weekly sessions then stretches the frequency to fortnightly, monthly and so on as you improve. You should have indications of a response within the first 6 treatments – for some that may be sufficient.

What can the therapy help

Acupuncture can treat a very wide range of disorders including the following:

  • Musculo-skeletal pain.
  • Neurological disorders.
  • Digestive problems.
  • Circulatory problems (including blood pressure).
  • Headaches and migraines.
  • Gynaecological and fertility problems.
  • Can aid IVF treatment.
  • Childbirth and pre-labour induction.
  • Skin diseases.
  • Strokes.
  • Can aid recovery from radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments.
  • ME.
  • Post-viral syndrome.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Poor immune systems eg hayfever.

Who would benefit from this type of therapy

As acupuncture treats the person as a whole, many people who have treatment report “beneficial side effects” – their other symptoms and general health start to improve. So it is suitable for almost everybody.

You may like to check out our Multi-Bed Acupuncture clinic, available on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and Wednesday mornings. Particularly suited to those requiring frequent appointments with acute conditions such as back problems, sports injuries, after strokes, helping with IVF treatment or pregnancy sickness. You can discuss your suitability for the Multi-Bed with your acupuncturist during your initial consultation.

Useful Links

The British Acupuncture Council: