WHAT IS
ACUPUNCTURE?

What is acupunture and what can acupuncture treat? Acupuncture is just one method of Chinese medicine, a medicine which has been practiced since the Xia Dynasty (2070-1600 BC).  Stone and bone needles have been found dating from that time, which is approximately 4000 years ago.  I wrote a blog post about the history of Chinese medicine and the tools we use in a treatment here, if you are interested.

 

Of course whilst the medicine still remains relevant the craftmanship of needles has changed.  We now use sterile single-use individually wrapped needles.  These needles are most often coated with silicone to provide a painless insertion.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the longest established forms of healthcare in the world. Acupuncturists are trained to use subtle diagnostic techniques that have been developed and refined for thousands of years. The focus is on you as an individual, not your illness, and all symptoms are seen in relation to each other. Treatment involves the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body to affect the flow of your body’s qi, or vital energy.  

 

You may be familiar with the concept of Yin and Yang?  This ancient philosophy perfectly explains how our bodies work.  Always striving for balance.  But external and internal factors can throw our bodies out of balance.  We can sit in the cold, watching a football match, and then the next day we have a runny nose.  This is an example of an external factor causing an out of balance to occur.

Acupuncture also considers other internal imbalance such as emotions, diet and hereditary.  If you are interested in reading more, you can see my blog post here.

It is different to biomedicine in that it takes a holistic approach to your individual signs and symptoms, but that it also recognises that our emotions are a cause of disease.

In acupuncture, each organ has a specific channel which runs vertically across the body.  Each organ has its own functions.  It also correlates to the elements e.g. the Kidneys relate to Water, fear, the colour black and Winter.  

When Chinese medicine was being developed it was created using observation.  They observed the acupuncture points and their own individual function.  It has been honed over thousands of years.

In your acupuncture treatment your acupuncturist will talk to you about your main complaint but also about you as a whole person.  Acupuncturists will observe you, your tongue and your pulse.  This questioning, palpation and observations will give your acupuncturist a diagnosis.

The acupuncture points your acupuncturist selects are dependent on that diagnosis.  There are over 400 points across the body and another 100 more in the ear.

Chinese meridans for acupuncture

WHAT can
ACUPUNCTURE TREAT?

If you are interested in whether acupuncture might help you, I would ask that you please look at both my regulatory body, The British Acupuncture Council and also I am a member of Evidence Based Acupuncture.  They will provide you with details of conditions and whether acupuncture can help treat them.  Alternatively you are always welcome to speak to me, or email me and I can discuss your signs and symptoms and whether I think acupuncture might help you. 

In clinic I have seen people with:

  • Infertility

  • Chronic migraine

  • Amenorrhea

  • Irritable bowel syndrome

  • Carpal tunnel

  • Back pain

  • Anxiety

  • Insomnia

  • Menopausal hot flushes

  • Hayfever

  • Neck and shoulder pain

  • Knee pain

In 2017 a systematic literature review examined 122 conditions, and they found that acupuncture had various levels of evidence for treating 117 of them.

"Systematic reviews published up to January 2017 indicate that acupuncture has a ‘positive effect’ on eight conditions (migraine prophylaxis, headache, chronic low back pain, allergic rhinitis, knee osteoarthritis, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, post-operative nausea and vomiting and post-operative pain), ‘potential positive effect’ on a further 38 conditions, ‘unclear/insufficient evidence’ for 71 conditions and ‘no evidence of effect’ for five conditions. Evidence of cost-effectiveness was identified for 10 conditions, and evidence for safety was identified for nine conditions"

What can acupuncture treat
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how DOES
ACUPUNCTURE work?

"Many biochemical and signaling pathways have been identified as playing a direct role in how acupuncture achieves its clinical effects, but perhaps the most central pathway that acupuncture uses, one that helps explain how it is effective in such a diverse array of clinical areas, is that acupuncture has been demonstrated to directly initiate a process called purinergic signaling, a primitive and ubiquitous system in the body using adenosine and ATP for signaling and regulation in all tissues and organ systems"

Purinergic signaling has been demonstrated to play a central role in such diverse clinical areas as migraines and headaches, immune dysfunction and inflammation, cancer, autism, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, endocrine function, embryological development.

 

In the brain, acupuncture has been shown to change functional connectivity, decreasing activity in limbic structures associated with stress and illness while improving the regulation of the hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal axis, the primary system that the body uses for regulating hormones and the physiological stress response.

 

Additionally, acupuncture modulates parasympathetic activity, the branch of the nervous system associated with rest, relaxation, digestion and tissue healing.

I did some work around embryology, which is a fascinating subject.  Everyone, starts from one cell. That one cell multiplies and begins to differentiate.  So it makes sense to me that an acupuncture point on your toe, also helps your face!  If you would like to read more about this, you can read my blog post here.

ACUPUNCTURE ISN'T
JUST NEEDLES

Mobile acupuncture in Letchworth

ACUPUNCTURE

Sterile single-use needles are inserted into chosen acupuncture points in the body, based on your diagnosis.

Facial acupuncture in Letchworth

FACIAL ACUPUNCTURE

Needles are inserted to create a healing response, this creates a natural treatment that aims to rejuvenate elasticity and complexion

Gua sha in Letchworth

GUA SHA

Gua sha meaning to "scrape away illness" aims to activate blood circulation

Elctro Acupuncture in Letchworth

electro ACUPUNCTURE

Electro-acupuncture uses electricity to gently stimulate points. It is particularly useful for musculoskeletal and scar tissue

Moxibuston in Letchworth

moxibustion

Moxibustion is an external therapy using a burning moxa stick or cone to produce a warm sensation and moxa smoke on the acupoints.

Cupping therapy in Letchworth

CUPPING THERAPY

Extraction of toxic substances (detoxification) from the body by creating negative pressure in the cup

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