Originating in China, acupuncture balances the energies in a person’s body to cure illness and regain harmony.
How does it work?
To understand the process of acupuncture, it is necessary to grasp the basic concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
TCM aims to restore the balance of Qi (pronounced: chee), a vital life force that flows through the body. Qi represents two opposing and complementary forces called yin and yang. These are constantly flowing and changing in the body. When these two forces are in harmony, the result is health and wellbeing. However, when the yin and yang are in imbalance, it can cause illness, pain, and suffering.
Qi flows through the body through meridians or pathways that are accessible through 350 acupuncture points. Like acupressure treatments, acupuncture aims to find the areas of imbalance that cause pain by inserting needles to a certain depth to regain the balance.
Acupuncture is a treatment from TCM that is now found in Western medicine and has received numerous studies on its effectiveness and benefits. In western medicine, needles are placed in particular points to stimulate the central nervous system and send the signals to the brain, which, in turn, releases neural hormones that naturally relieve pain.
In comparison, TMC acupuncture assesses the patient by analyzing tongue, pulse, and the whole body situation to understand where the imbalance to Qi lies.
What are the benefits of acupuncture?
Acupuncture is safe and can bring multiple benefits whether you choose it as a therapy or just a way to relax.
Some conditions proved to improve with acupuncture therapy include:
Lower back and neck pain
Long hours sitting at a desk and overall digital lifestyle, unfortunately, come at the cost of our backs and necks. A study has shown acupuncture can be used along with routine care to treat lower back and neck pain with more success.
Knee and hip pain
Osteoarthritis tends to occur with age or due to injury or obesity. The chronic pain in the knees or hips can be relieved with acupuncture treatments along with other prescribed treatments or even as a primary form of therapy, as shown in this study performed on patients suffering from pain due to osteoarthritis.
Headache and migraine
Many studies have found acupuncture beneficial in preventing headaches and migraines, reduce their frequency, or relieving the pain. According to one in particular, acupuncture therapy should be considered as a non-pharmacological tool to treat and prevent headaches and migraines.
Acupuncture is a stress relief which works by calming the sympathetic nervous system and stimulating parasympathetic activities. It can reduce the body’s fight or flight response, alleviate stress, and reduce anxiety symptoms.
The list of benefits of acupuncture is long. It can help relieve digestive conditions, increased energy and clarity, improved immune system, and reduced eye strain. However, it doesn’t need to serve only as a treatment. Acupuncture is a great way to relax and take care of yourself even if you don’t suffer from any pain at the moment.
How to prepare for acupuncture therapy
You do not need to do any special preparations before an acupuncture therapy. But here are a couple of tips to make sure your session goes smoothly:
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. You may need to free up your legs, arms, and back during the session. If necessary, you have towels or blankets to cover yourself.
- Have a light meal an hour or two before the treatment.
- Avoid strenuous physical activity after the session
What does a typical session look like?
The practitioner will usually start with the assessment of your condition, discuss treatment, and your health history. The first session may take you longer, depending on the treatment, it could be anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes.
You may be asked to lay on the back, front, or the side, depending on where the practitioner needs to insert the needles. Acupuncture points might be away from your area of pain.
Acupuncture is usually painless, but you may feel a slight stinging or a tingling sensation when needles are inserted in your body. The practitioner may gently move and twirl the needles during the treatment and apply heat or electrical pulses. Typically, five to twenty needles can be used in a treatment, and can stay for 10 to 30 minutes.
It is usually necessary to repeat treatments, especially for treating chronic conditions.
How to find a practitioner
The British Acupuncture Council is the UK’s largest professional, self-regulatory body for the practice of traditional acupuncture. You can find more details about acupuncture and find a qualified acupuncturist in the UK on their site.
From Spring 2021 you can find Acupuncturists in your area by visiting our website. Search and book your next treatment directly through our online marketplace.