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What is Acupuncture

What can you expect from an Acupuncture session

Questions about what an Acupuncture session involves

What can acupuncture treat

How to Find Acupuncturists near me

Acupuncture is an ancient healing art using fine needles inserted into specific points on the body to treat disease, restore health and promote well being.

It thought to have originated in China between 2000 to 3000 years ago although other styles of acupuncture are practiced, such as Japanese and Korean acupuncture.

There is also evidence of its use outside China, about 5000 years ago. In 1991 a mummy was found in the Tirolean Ötztal Alps showing tattoos of modern acupuncture points.

There are two different branches of acupuncture practiced in the U.K.

Members of the British Acupuncture Council use a holistic approach based on the principles of Chinese medicine.

They have a minimum training of 3,600 hours and are required to attend courses after qualifying, as part of their continuing professional development. This style of acupuncture has been refined and developed over the past 2,000 years in the East and West.

"Medical acupuncture" is a more recent development practiced by members of the British Medical Acupuncture Society.

Members are western health care professionals such as doctors, osteopaths, physiotherapists, and dentists and have a minimum of 100 hours training. Theories of Chinese medicine do not fit easily into modern biomedical paradigms, therefore they use acupuncture techniques within their existing practice, based on western, orthodox medical diagnosis.

Chartered physiotherapists are registered with the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists. They are required to do 80 hours of training.

Acupuncture is also used by veterinary surgeons to treat animals. Association of British Veterinary Acupuncturists


British Acupuncture Council
British Medical Acupuncture Society
Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists
Association of British Veterinary Acupuncturists


What can you expect from an Acupuncture session

Many people find acupuncture a relaxing experience leaving them with a deep sense of well being and increased energy levels.

You may have to remove clothing so your practitioner can access areas of the body for treatment. Fine, disposable, sterile needles are used; they are completely different to hypodermic needles. Needles may be inserted in various parts of the body and the number of needles used depends on the style of acupuncture and condition being treated.

After the needles are inserted, they may be manipulated until a sensation called “de qi” is obtained. This feels like an ache or distending feeling in the area of the needle although not all practitioners manipulate acupuncture needles during treatment.

Acupuncture is generally pain free but some people may be more sensitive to the sensation than others. Needles may be removed immediately or left for about 20 minutes.

Your practitioner may use other modalities of Chinese medicine if they are appropriate to your condition. Moxabustion is a supplementary treatment where the herb mugwort (moxa) is burned on acupuncture points to warm areas and support the body’s energy.

Moxa can be applied directly on the skin in the shape of a cone, attached to the end of the needle or used indirectly above the skin in a ready rolled stick.

Cupping is a procedure using glass suction cups over body areas, usually the back. Sometimes needles may be attached to an electrical stimulator that sends mild currents down the needle. Again these procedures should be pain free and are designed to stimulate the body’s energy.

Sometimes massage or a blunt metal probe is used to stimulate acupuncture points. This is particularly useful for small children and people who are afraid of needles.



Questions about what an Acupuncture session involves

Do I need to buy any equipment?


What to wear

Comfortable clothing that is easily removed.

How long is a session

45 mins to 1 hour. The first session is usually 1 ½ hours to incorporate taking details of your current and past health issues, medication and diagnostic signs.

What is expected of clients

During the treatment you will lie on a massage couch. Your practitioner may give you dietary advice, exercises or other recommendations to support the treatments.

Average costs / fees per session

£40 - £80 depending on length of session, experience and location

What are the main Qualifications a practitioner should have?

BSc:Acupuncture, Lic.Ac., MBAcC or BMAS

What can acupuncture treat

Acupuncture has been proven through controlled clinical trials to treat many health complaints.

In 2003 the World Health Organization recognized that acupuncture was effective in treating the following conditions:

Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy, allergic rhinitis (including hay fever), biliary colic, depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke), acute bacillary? dysentery, dysmenorrhoea,
primary? epigastralgia, acute peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm, facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders), headache, hypertension, essential hypotension, induction of labour, knee pain. leucopenia, low back pain, correction of malposition of fetus, morning sickness, nausea and vomiting, neck pain, pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction), periarthritis of shoulder, postoperative pain, renal colic, rheumatoid arthritis, sciatica, sprain, stroke, tennis elbow.

Acupuncture has shown to be therapeutic in the following conditions but more trials are needed to prove their efficacy:

Abdominal pain (in acute gastroenteritis or due to gastrointestinal spasm),
acne vulgaris, alcohol dependence and detoxification, bell’s palsy bronchial asthma, cancer pain, cardiac neurosis, chronic cholecystitis with acute exacerbation,? cholelithiasis, competition stress syndrome,? closed craniocerebral injury, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, earache, epidemic haemorrhagic fever, epistaxis (without generalized or local disease), eye pain due to subconjunctival injection, female infertility, facial spasm, female urethral syndrome, fibromyalgia and fasciitis, gastrokinetic disturbance, gouty arthritis, hepatitis B virus carrier status, herpes zoster (human (alpha) herpes virus 3), hyperlipaemia, hypo-ovarianism, insomnia, labour pain, lactation deficiency, male sexual dysfunction, non-organic? Ménière disease, neuralgia, post-herpetic? neurodermatitis, obesity, opium, cocaine and heroin dependence, osteoarthritis,? pain due to endoscopic examination, pain in thromboangiitis obliterans, polycystic ovary syndrome (Stein-Leventhal syndrome), postextubation in children, postoperative convalescence, premenstrual syndrome, prostatitis, chronic? pruritus? radicular and pseudoradicular pain syndrome, Raynaud syndrome, primary recurrent lower urinary-tract infection, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, retention of urine, traumatic? schizophrenia? sialism, drug-induced? Sjögren syndrome, sore throat (including tonsillitis), spine pain, acute stiff neck, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, Tietze syndrome, tobacco dependence, Tourette syndrome, ulcerative colitis, chronic? urolithiasis? vascular dementia, whooping cough (pertussis).

Current research on the effectiveness of acupuncture for other conditions can be found


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