Acupuncture is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine involving the insertion of ultra-fine, single use sterile needles into specific acupuncture points on the body to promote natural healing and improve physical and emotional wellbeing. It works by freeing up the normal flow of blood, energy (Qi), and nutrients by releasing myofascial and musculoskeletal constrictions.
Pain free needles create un-noticeable micro trauma; this stimulates a healing response in your body, releasing the body’s natural painkillers such as: serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins into your bloodstream. These hormones are responsible for producing happiness and pain relief. Our para-sympathetic nervous system goes into its ‘rest and digest’ state, this is where healing takes place, taking us out of ‘fight or flight’ mode and breaking the stress cycle.
Essentially, acupuncture jump-starts your body’s self-healing mechanism meaning you could have it every day, 10 times a day if wanted as it is natural. You can also have it alongside prescribed medications too. Your body is constantly repairing and rebuilding itself; acupuncture can help direct this healing response in a more efficient way.
An initial consultation and treatment takes around 1-1.5 hours where your full medical history is considered. A treatment involves between 8 to 30 needles depending upon what is being treated.
Massage treatments that can complement your acupuncture treatment to add a little extra relaxation time. Many patients often opt for a back massage/full body or area massage pre-acupuncture as this can warm up and relax the muscles before acupuncture and rid some of the stress of your day so that you can fully relax into your experience.
Once the needles are in, they are often left in for around 20-30 minutes or so. This allows the body to melt into the bench, stimulating the para-sympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system and further promoting pain-reliving endorphins and signals in the brain. A lavender eye bag and meditation music is often involved at this point.
Everybody is different and we quite often receive DJ requests to listen to specific artists and composers through to the Minions (when treating kids, yes kids can have and respond to acupuncture very well!). Whatever floats your boat our goal is to have you moving better and feeling relaxed.
What are the benefits?
Regular acupuncture can help support a wide range of conditions or be used for the maintenance of general health and wellbeing. Some of the more common complaints that patients seek help for include:
- Acute or chronic pain
- Stress and anxiety
- Musculoskeletal and joint conditions
- Migraines and headaches
- Fertility support and IVF
- Pregnancy support
- Menopausal symptoms
- PMS and menstrual disorders
Are there any side effects? Negative or otherwise?
Nope, you will feel slightly floaty, relaxed, as if you have just woken up from a nap. You can feel a little achy post musculoskeletal treatment as specific muscle groups will have been worked however this should only last 24/48 hours, as if you have been to the gym with that muscle. Many people do not feel any aches or pains after treatment.
Can anyone have acupuncture? If not, who can’t and why?
Yes, anyone can have acupuncture. However, it is important to consult with a qualified practitioner to ensure that it is appropriate for your individual needs. All British Acupuncture Council professionally qualified members (MBAcC) have/are:
- PSA Accredited.
- Degree level trained with over 3,600 hours of training.
- Graduated from British Acupuncture Accreditation Board (BABB) accredited programs.
- Have full anatomy and physiology training with extensive focus on risk and safety and at least 400 hours of in person clinic training. It is worth checking to see if your provider is a BAcC member.
When do you feel the effects of the treatment – are they immediate?
The effects of acupuncture treatment vary from person to person. Some people may feel immediate relief from their symptoms e.g. acute symptoms, while others may not feel the effects until further into a course of treatment e.g., for chronic pain, insomnia, stress reduction, fertility treatment support. It is important to discuss your expectations with your acupuncturist before beginning treatment.
Do you have to have regular treatment, or can you just have one appointment?
You can just need one or two appointments e.g., for acute pain, or just to relax but regular treatment is often recommended for best results for e.g., chronic long-term issues such as pain or to support you during pregnancy changes or during any fertility treatments. A course of treatment is discussed with a review after each treatment. Prevention is better than cure and so many patients once feeling on top form will pop into clinic every so often for a check-up.
Is acupuncture treatment covered by insurance?
Many private health providers cover a course of treatment and so it is worth contacting your provider to find out if you are covered prior to your appointment.