Evidence for Acupuncture

There are around four million acupuncture treatments per year in the UK, of which around half are delivered by members of the British Acupuncture Council. Musculoskeletal pain is the most common condition that patients present with, but traditional acupuncturists see people with a wide range of conditions; mental ill health and infertility are the next most prevalent (Hopton 2012): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22240649

The best place to look at the evidence for acupuncture is at Evidence Based Acupuncture. I cannot rate this work highly enough.

You can also find out  more via the British Acupuncture Council, who provide a series of fact sheets on a wide range of conditions and These fact sheets provide summaries of research and how acupuncture may be beneficial.

Contact me for more information.

Acupuncture – an effective alternative to HRT?

women's healthThe menopause can so often be a time that brings disruption and misery to a woman’s life.  It can involve one or more of a range of symptoms, which are experienced to varying degrees and levels of distress. These can include night sweats and hot flushes, insomnia, anxiety, depression, fatigue, headaches, aches and pains, palpitations and genital and urinary problems.

It is estimated that up to 60% of women’s lives are sufficiently disrupted to warrant visiting the GP, where the standard treatment is a prescription of HRT (hormone replacement therapy). For some, this brings immediate relief with no or little side-effects and the added benefit of preventing the development of osteoporosis.

For others the side-effects of HRT (weight gain, bloating, breast tenderness, nausea, cramps, indigestion, fluid retention, headaches, mood swings, depression acne and backache) outweigh the benefits.

A woman may be reluctant to take HRT because of the associated risks of cardiovascular disease and breast cancer. Others feel uncomfortable about taking medication for such a long period of time. Some are not able to take it because of a pre-existing condition such as high blood pressure. Some have been on HRT for many years but feel unsure about stopping because of the return of the original symptoms.

So what’s the alternative…?

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What is acupuncture

what is acupuncture

When people ask ‘what is acupuncture’ they may already know that it comes from China and that it treats pain. What they may not know is that today it also forms part of a rational and evidence-based system of healthcare and that over a million healthcare practitioner use it worldwide. Furthermore practitioners use acupuncture to treat a wide range of physical and mental health illness.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine sterile needles into acupuncture points and/or warming or massaging the points.  Glass cups may also be used to create a vacuum over areas of the skin to dispel stagnation. In these ways the acupuncturist can stimulate the body’s own healing response in a completely natural way.

What can it treat

Acupuncture is increasingly recognised as a treatment option for a wide range of conditions and consequently many health professionals are happy to recommend acupuncture to their patients.

Patients come for treatment for:

  • chronic and acute pain
  • sports injury
  • arthritis, joint pain and stiffness
  • anxiety, depression, stress and insomnia
  • digstive disorders including IBS
  • chronic fatigue syndrome and ME
  • Skin conditions such as eczema and acne
  • migraines and headaches
  • allergies
  • PMT, fibroids and endometriosis
  • menopausal symptoms
  • infertility
  • pregnancy and post-natal support
  • Urogenital problems
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Diabetes

If you would like to know more about a specific health concern then please contact me.

How it works

Traditionally acupuncturists explain its effects in relation to the flow of ‘qi’ in the body and the balancing of Yin and Yang – a framework of health which maps very closely to the Western concept of homeostasis.  The way that we ingest, store and transform qi and the balance and harmony of its flow within the human body is the basis on which acupuncturists practise Chinese medicine.

From a modern perspective acupuncture has been shown to stimulate nerves and connective tissue resulting in profound effects on the nervous system including regulation of key areas of the brain.

Is it safe

All members of the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) must observe a Code of Practice, which lays down stringent standards of hygiene and sterilisation for needles and other equipment. The Department of Health have approved these procedures which provide protection against the transmission of infectious diseases.

Find out what to expect from an acupuncture treatment…