Nowadays, we are more aware of the importance of a healthy lifestyle. And how we think about the prevention of illness is changing.
The aim of acupuncture is to help boost the body’s natural recovery and immune system. It can support and relieve both mental and physical imbalance, by harmonising the systems of the body so they can work well together.
NICE considers acupuncture a great benefit for reducing pain and improving quality of life, with minimal side-effects.
https://www.nice.org.uk › evidence-review-7
Naho is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acupuncturist who studied at City College of Acupuncture in London. She is a member of the British Acupuncture Council.
She is currently working as an acupuncture volunteer at a Cancer Centre in an NHS Hospital helping to reduce side effects from the response of the cancer treatment.
Before coming to the UK, Naho worked as a registered nurse at the University Hospital in Japan.
Naho also worked at an NHS GP surgery. She is a qualified Aromatherapist and volunteered at an NHS Hospital as a massage therapist.
Naho has an interest in the treatment of stress-related mental and physical problems such as insomnia, women’s health, digestive problems and muscle tension. She is also interested in chronic and acute musculoskeletal pain.
WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE
TRADITIONAL ACUPUNCTURE THEORY
The basic principle of traditional acupuncture is the belief that illness and pain are caused when the body's Qi (vital energy) cannot flow freely.
There are many possible reasons for this;
emotional and physical stress, poor nutrition, infection, injuries or trauma are the most common.
Qi circulates the body through acupuncture points or meridians.
Appropriate acupuncture points within the meridian are stimulated by inserting fine sterile needles which may free stagnation, increase QI or reduce excess QI to the specific area or organ.
This will then re-establish a normal QI flow and balance. As a result, it triggers the body's natural healing response.
OTHER TECHNIQUES USED
Moxa (Mugwort) is a common weed that has remarkable medicinal properties that have been used in China and Japan alongside acupuncture for many centuries.
When moxa is burnt, it releases heat and aromatic oils – this process is called “moxibustion” and is done close to or directly on the skin.
Medical research in Japan has shown that burning moxa can have beneficial effects on the blood circulation and immune system.
A therapeutic treatment involving the placing of warm cups on the skin. By warming the air within the cup, a vacuum is created, and when it is applied to the skin, the tissue is drawn up into the cup. This increases the blood flow, loosens the fascia or connective tissue, and is stimulates healing.
Application of pressure to acupoints on the body's meridians. Acupressure helps to correct functional imbalances and restore the flow of Qi thus returning the body to a more natural state of well-being.
A technique to increase blood flow and clear stagnant Qi by applying massage oil and gently rubbing the skin with a smooth-edged tool.
The effects of acupuncture is being thoroughly researched by many institutions. Acupuncture is thought to stimulate the autonomic nervous system, endocrine system, immune system, etc., which results in the relaxation of central and reflex muscle tone and improvement of blood and lymph circulation. As a result, it is thought that it keeps the body in balance which results in natural recovery.
In addition, there are various theories as to the analgesic effect (pain reduction and control) of acupuncture that has been recognised since ancient times:
1.Gate control: suppression of pain in the spinal cord through needle stimulation
2.Endorphins: release of morphine-like analgesics and suppression of pain via acupuncture stimulation
3.Peripheral nerve blocking effect: blocking of peripheral nerve pain impulses through needle stimulation
4.Analgesic effect: raising the pain threshold by needle stimulation of acupuncture points
5.Improving blood circulation: relaxing muscle tension and improving blood circulation
WHAT ACUPUNCTURE CAN HELP
Acupuncture is widely considered to be beneficial for a range of illnesses and symptoms, from clearly defined complaints to more general feelings of ill health and low energy.
British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) has introduced some fact sheets for with many conditions to provide a summary of the study how beneficial acupuncture is. These include:
Insomnia, Anxiety, Stress, Depression
Women’s Health (Dysmenorrhoea, PMS, Infertility, Menopause Symptoms etc)
Genitals and Urology (Cystitis, Urinary Incontinence etc)
Muscle, Bones and Nerves (Sciatica, Osteoarthritis, Frozen Shoulder, Sports Injuries, Bells Palsy, Neuropathic Pain etc)
Digestive System (Nausea, Vomiting, IBS, Gastrointestinal Tract Disorders etc)
Allergic Rhinitis, Hay Fever
Colds and Flu
Skin Conditions (Eczema, Psoriasis etc)
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia
WHAT HAPPENS DURING MY VISIT
When you visit the clinic, you are first asked what the problem is and your general health condition. To help with the diagnosis, your pulse is taken and your tongue is observed.
IS THE NEEDLE PAINFUL?
The needles are very thin and gently inserted so you often do not feel the needles being inserted. After a needle is inserted you might feel a mild, dull ache or a slight tingling sensation. This may be a sign that the treatment is working and the acupuncture point is being activated. Feelings of warmth may arise at the acupuncture points.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I VISIT FOR TREATMENT?
It depends on each person and each condition. It will probably be recommended to come once a week or every two weeks. Generally, one course is six treatments and some people may come for wellbeing maintenance.