How Acupuncture works

The Chinese believe the body has the ability to heal its self. Acupuncture evokes this self-healing by the stimulation of specific areas on the body, called acupuncture points. This stimulation is achieved by the shallow insertion and manipulation of extremely fine sterile needles into the skin at these sites.

Chinese medical theory describes how the body is kept in balance by the free flow of the energy called Qi. The energy (QI) flows through channels called meridians. If this flow becomes blocked, an imbalance occurs and this can give rise to disease, loss of function and pain.

In the last few years Western scientists have discovered myofascial pathways that appear to follow the meridians described by the ancient acupuncturists, and the concept of QI itself could well overlap with their growing knowledge of how the cells of the body communicate.

Acupuncture aims to maintain the energy flow and resolve any blockages to restore the natural balance. This stimulates the body’s own natural healing and defence processes, promoting physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing.

What does acupuncture feel like?

Acupuncture is usually painless and patients won’t feel any sensation at all. Occasionally you may experience a slight sensation, like a small scratch as the needle goes in. Sometimes a person may feel a sensation like a small electrical shock a tingle or a dull ache. These only usually last for a very brief period.

What happens in a treatment session?

Initially we will carry out a consultation to enable us to understand a patient’s present condition and any presenting complains. You will be asked questions about your past medical history, general health, lifestyle and working environment etc. We then take the patients pulses and carry out various other diagnostic procedures to enable us to work out the best treatment strategy.

The treatment may just consist of acupuncture alone, or another supporting treatment, such as Reiki or cupping or moxibustion could be used as well

How many treatment sessions are usually required?

This depends on the individual patients needs and the nature of their problems. It is usual to have weekly or fortnightly treatments initially. These then space out once the patient’s condition has improved, to monthly or more. Some use acupuncture as a preventative measure and often come once a month or at the change of the seasons to support and maintain their bodies balance.

What do I need to do to prepare before a treatment session?

It is advised that Patients wear loose fitting clothing, to make it easy for the practitioner to access the acupuncture points. It is also advised that patients avoid a heavy meal and tea, coffee or alcohol for at least 1 hour before treatment, as this can affect the pulses and diagnosis techniques.

Do I need to inform my GP I’m having acupuncture?

If a patient is receiving any treatment from a doctor or healthcare professional it would be a good idea to just inform them that they are going to receive acupuncture. Similarly, if the patient is on any medication it is advisable they tell the practitioner at the time, as these may affect the bodies energy and pulses. They can then take this into account when devising a treatment.

Does acupuncture affect any medication or other treatment I’m currently receiving?

You should not stop taking any prescribed medication without the consulting your GP or consultant first.

There is a chance that it could help reduce the need for medication or other treatment or even lead to them not being required at all. However, you should discuss this with your consultant or GP first if you feel you may want or are able to do this.

What is cupping?

Cupping is an ancient form of alternative therapy. The practitioner places special cups made of glass or plastic on your skin for a few minutes. These are held on by a vacuum, so creating suction. This suction improves the flow of QI and eases congestion. It can be used for many purposes, including to help with reducing pain and inflammation, improving blood flow. It also helps with relaxation and over all well-being. It can also be used as a type of deep-tissue massage.

What is moxibustion?

Moxibustion is a form of therapy using heat, in which dried form of the herb mug wort is burned on the end of the acupuncture needle or very near the surface of the skin. The intention when using this is to warm and invigorate the flow of Qi in the body and dispel certain pathogenic factors.